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WASHINGTON — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday signed a controversial bill to lower the state’s blood-alcohol limit for drivers to 0.05 percent — the strictest standard in the nation.

Herbert said in a statement that the bill is good public policy aimed at reducing the number of alcohol-related deaths on Utah’s roads. 

“Public safety is our focus,” he said. “This law does not target drinking; it is a public safety law that targets impaired driving.”

In passing the legislation, Utah becomes the first state to drop the blood-alcohol limit below the 0.08 percent nationwide standard, which it was the first state to adopt in 1983.  

Herbert said he plans to call a special session to address unintended consequences of the law and make necessary modifications before it takes effect on Dec. 31, 2018

“This law will save lives, therefore it is good public policy and will move us closer to achieving our goal of ‘Zero Fatalities,’” he said.

The bill was backed by the National Transportation Safety Board and opposed by the Utah Restaurant Association, USA Today reports.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.