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SALT LAKE CITY — A new coalition is encouraging Utahns and visitors to the state to be safe this holiday season, especially as a new DUI level goes into effect.
"On December 30, 2018, Utah will officially have the strictest drinking and driving laws in the country," said Kayvon Motiee, the president of Broadway Media. "Whether you agree with that law or you disagree with the law, the fact of that matter is at 12:01 a.m. it's going to take effect."
On that day, Utah's legal blood alcohol limit will lower from .08 percent to .05 percent.
The Enjoy Utah Responsibly coalition, which Broadway Media is part of, wants to spread awareness of the law change, Motiee said, as well as encourage people to continue to enjoy the restaurants, bars, clubs and other activities and entertainment in the city and throughout the state.
Members of the group also caution people in Utah to be responsible — both to keep themselves and others on the road safe, and to avoid DUI charges as the law changes this month.
Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Col. Mark Zesiger assures Utahns that police will not be changing their enforcement tactics; they will continue to perform field sobriety tests as they were trained to.
But still, he said, they don't want any impaired drivers on the road.
"Our message going into this holiday season would just be, as you go out and enjoy these things, do it responsibly," Zesiger said. "If you're going to go out and drink, have a game plan ahead of time — have a way that you're going to get home."
Other members of the coalition include Salt Lake City Police, Utah Transit Authority, Visit Salt Lake, Utah Restaurant Association, Budweiser and Lyft.
"Lyft initiated it, and we all really rallied around them," said Scott Beck, president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake.
The coalition encourages using a designated driver, public transportation, taxis or ride-hailing apps such as Uber or Lyft. Leading up to and after the law change, Lyft is offering a ride credit to help people get home.
Beck insisted that ".05 is not as revolutionary as it sounds," adding that Colorado and New York also have the same limit, but with different penalties.
A major part of the coalition's campaign will be advertising, such as billboards, radio ads, UTA trains and buses, and on-site products like coasters and posters in bars.
"We hope people will continue to go out and enjoy themselves," Beck said. "This whole thing is just about getting people to let someone else drive."