All Utah drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 are currently banned from driving after drinking even a drop of alcohol. HB155 sought to expand that limitation to all new "novice drivers" who obtain a license for the first time — even if they are older than 21 — for a two-year period.
The bill's definition of "novice driver" includes international immigrants who obtain a U.S. license for the first time in Utah — even if they had licenses abroad. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys have called for it to be stricken from the new law because it does not consider previous experience.
"Prosecutors think it could become constitutionally problematic" because it would treat native and foreign drivers of the same age or experience differently, Will Carlson, a prosecutor for Salt Lake County stated. Carlson added that there is a worry "that may have unintended consequences leading into areas akin to racial or ethnic profiling in traffic enforcement."
Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, sponsor of the bill said, the idea was that since they are developing new driving skills, they are at high risk — and "if they have any alcohol at all, it's going to affect them."