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Passing .05 percent DUI law helps Utah earn international road safety award

Passing .05 percent DUI law helps Utah earn international road safety award

(Laura Seitz, KSL, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah will receive an international road safety award Tuesday for using innovative transportation management tools and dropping the legal blood alcohol content for driving to .05 percent.

The Prince Michael International Road Safety Award will recognize the Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Department of Public Safety, the Utah Legislature and the governor's office in a ceremony in London.

Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, traveled to England to accept the award.

"I think it highlights something that we have known all along. It doesn't make Utah kind of weird in the eyes of people who know what's going on," said Thurston, who sponsored the controversial .05 percent law.

Utah is the first state in the country to lower the .08 percent legal limit for driving to .05 percent. The law is not scheduled to take effect until Dec. 30, 2018.

"People who work on this issue around the world understand and support that this is going to make difference," said Thurston, who paid his own way to London.

The American Beverage Institute in Washington, D.C., has mounted a campaign to overturn the law, arguing it fails to target the dangerous drunken drivers who cause the vast majority of alcohol-related fatalities and instead targets moderate, responsible drinkers.

The award also recognizes UDOT's use of mapping and road assessment programs to help reduce crashes and correct safety hazards.

Prince Michael of Kent, first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, established the road safety awards in 1987 in the United Kingdom.

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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