SALT LAKE CITY — New numbers released by the Utah Highway Patrol Monday show a decline in alcohol-related crashes from the same period of time in 2018.
In addition, they say the number of people arrested under the new blood alcohol content threshold remains low.
In all, 2,713 people were arrested for investigation of driving under the influence during the first quarter of the year, which runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. Only 135 arrests, or about 5%, were individuals who had BAC levels between .05 and .079. UHP previously reported 38 drivers had BAC levels from .05-.079 among the 844 DUI arrests in January alone.
Another 59 arrests came from drivers who were under the drinking age and another 27 were alcohol-restricted drivers during the first quarter of 2019.
As for alcohol-related crashes on Utah’s highways, UHP officials said there were 236 crashes during the same time period that resulted in three fatalities. In 2018, there were 416 alcohol-related crashes that resulted in 10 fatalities from Jan. 1 through March 31. However, it is still too early to tell if that decline is correlated to Utah’s new DUI law, which is the strictest in the country.
While it may seem weird for UHP to release first quarter DUI numbers near the tail end of the second quarter, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street explained to KSL.com earlier this year that there is a delay in UHP reporting its DUI numbers while authorities confirm BAC levels.
Since Utah’s law went into effect, at least three other states have proposed similar bills to lower the BAC threshold in their states. Utah currently remains the only state in the U.S. with a .05 DUI level.