In The News

  • Alcohol-related deaths are rising. Will new state rules help?

    The reduction in underage drinking and drunken driving accidents among young people is widely viewed as one of the greatest public health achievements in the United States. But data suggest that among people who are middle age, another problem involving excess drinking has been quietly brewing. The problem is contributing to the alarming trend of white Americans dying younger than they used to. The rise was driven by drug overdoses and suicides, but also by alcohol poisoning, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. It has been observed only in the U.S. Anne Case and Angus Deaton, who are spouses and Princeton University economists, have found that the trend began among [...]

  • Making a case against lower alcohol limits

    Adam Conover, host of truTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything” enjoys poking holes in popular opinion about almost every subject, from herpes to tipping wait staff. Adam might want to look into a move to lower the legal blood-alcohol level for driving to .05 from .08. We’d got a feeling he might take a position similar to an opinion piece submitted to the Gazette by Sarah Longwell, who sees it as an attack on women’s rights. Oh, she’s also managing director for the American Beverage Institute, but her arguments might make Adam Conover proud. While Hawaii and Washington were unsuccessful in lowering the legal BAC to [...]

  • Restaurant Lobby Takes Aim at Utah Tourism

    The American Beverage Institute (ABI), a Washington D.C.-based lobby group is taking aim at Utah’s billion-dollar tourism industry in order to pressure state officials into rethinking new restrictions on alcohol consumption. The Utah legislature recently lowered the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers to .05 percent. The ABI has responded with a series of newspaper ads warning Idaho travelers to rethink their vacation plans to Utah. The ads, headlined: “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation” note that the lowered arrest threshold could mean jail time for sober people. The ads’ tagline: “Time for Idahoans to rethink their vacation [...]

  • Idaho alcohol laws can be screwy, but Utah is always screwier

    If Idaho’s R-rated-movie-vs.-alcohol drama embarrassed you before finally being resolved last year, take solace. No matter how hard we try, Utah will always look more absurd than we do. That state’s creative relationship with alcohol never ceases to amaze. Starting in mid-May, all restaurants and bars that serve alcohol must conspicuously display a sign indicating that either: “This premise is licensed as a bar not a restaurant” or “This premise is licensed as a restaurant not a bar.” Hey, if you’re reading my column in print, please know: “You are reading a newspaper not a website.” And if you are reading this column on your phone, “You are reading [...]

  • Utah in the crosshairs: “Come for vacation, leave on probation”

    The American Beverage Institute placed a full-page ad in Tuesday’s Idaho Statesman cautioning Idahoans against visiting Utah. Why? Because of the state’s new law imposing a .05 blood alcohol threshold — which doesn’t even take effect until Dec. 30, 2018. So it begins. California is the only state that sends more tourists to Utah than Idaho, which is why the beverage institute chose to place Tuesday’s ad in the Statesman. It wanted to get Utah’s attention before Gov. Gary Herbert calls a special session of the Legislature this summer. “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation,” the ad blares. And just to make sure nobody misses the [...]

  • Group hits back at stringent new Utah alcohol law with ads proclaiming, ‘UTAH: Come for vacation, leave on probation’

    The American Beverage Institute has placed an eye-catching full-page ad in the Idaho Statesman today, headlined: “UTAH: COME FOR VACATION, LEAVE ON PROBATION,” picturing a mock mug shot of a young woman charged in Salt Lake County for the crime of “had one drink with dinner.” The ad declares, “Time for Idahoans to rethink their vacation plans!” Statesman reporter John Sowell reports that a newly passed Utah law lowering the blood-alcohol standard for drunk driving from .08 to 0.05 doesn’t take effect until the end of 2018, and that while Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill last month, he’s said [...]

  • ‘Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation,’ says anti-DUI law campaign

    A national restaurant association warned in a full-page Idaho Statesman newspaper ad on Tuesday that if Idahoans go to Utah on vacation, they may return on probation because of its new toughest-in-the-nation drunken driving law. "I will tell you this is just the beginning of our campaign" to attack the law — which does not take effect for 20 months until Dec. 30, 2018 — and seek its repeal at a special session of the Legislature expected in late summer, said Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute. She said the group's new ad campaign started in Idaho, which sends [...]

  • Restaurant group tells Idahoans: Don’t vacation in Utah

    A new Utah law lowering the maximum blood-alcohol limit doesn’t take effect until the end of 2018. But a restaurant trade association isn’t waiting to begin an assault on it. The American Beverage Institute took out an ad in Tuesday’s Idaho Statesman with the headline “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.” The full-page ad shows a police mugshot of a woman holding a card saying she was arrested in Salt Lake County for the crime of having “one drink with dinner.” Read more here: The law that lowers the limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, the lowest level in the United [...]

  • Small percentage of DUI arrests made under 0.08; police arrest on impairment

    Jim Tracy’s father-in-law was driving home from visiting his wife in the hospital in 1980 when a drunk driver careened across the center lane on the bridge both drivers were crossing. There were no shoulders, no sidewalks, no room for error. The drunk driver struck the vehicle of Jim Tracy’s father-in-law head on, killing him. “I’ve seen a lot of tragedy, not just in my family, but in other places, having to go make those notifications because someone lost their life … to a drunk driver,” said Jim Tracy, Utah County sheriff, a strong supporter of House Bill 155, lowering the [...]

  • DUIs serve to refill our coffers and replenish community service labor pool

    Sarah Longwell’s article in last Sunday’s editorial section was well stated. I agree 100 percent with her; lowering the BAC limit to 0.05 from 0.08 is about more revenue in Utah’s coffers. It certainly isn’t for “safety” reasons. The other purpose for issuing DUI’s rarely or never mentioned are the hours of “community service” that each person must perform if found guilty of a DUI or other minor criminal offenses. Community service is really a cleaned-up version of the word servitude or bondage. Described in the dictionary, servitude is “compulsory service or labor as a punishment for criminals; and slavery or [...]