In The News

  • Editorial: The right way to combat drunken driving

    Utah has never been a drinker's paradise. Most residents belong to the Mormon church, which forbids the use of alcohol, and the state has notoriously strict liquor laws. Beer on tap at a bar, for example, can have no more than 4 percent alcohol by volume. So it's no surprise that the Beehive State could be the first to adopt a DUI standard tougher than the current norm. State Rep. Norman Thurston has introduced a bill to lower the legal blood alcohol content for drunken driving from the current 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. "Impairment starts with the first drink," he [...]

  • Breathalyzer technology saves more lives when all offenders use it, study says

    Devices that require convicted drunken drivers to pass a breath test before starting their cars save lives and could save even more, according to a Johns Hopkins study published Thursday. The study found a bigger drop in drunken driving-related fatalities in states that required so-called ignition interlocks for anyone convicted of driving under the influence than in states that limited their use to repeat offenders. States increasingly have adopted laws requiring the devices in an effort to reduce fatal road crashes. Last year, Maryland became one of 28 states that have made the interlocks mandatory for everyone convicted of driving under the [...]

  • NTSB looks to technology to end drunken driving in the U.S.

    Washington (CNN)In hopes of someday virtually ending drunken driving in the United States, federal safety advocates Tuesday encouraged ongoing development of in-vehicle technology that unobtrusively tests all motorists to see if they have imbibed. The National Transportation Safety Board also said that all 50 states should require ignition interlock devices for any driver convicted even once of driving under the influence. The devices are now required for first-time offenders in about one-third of states. The board encouraged continued research in DADSS -- driver alcohol detection system for safety -- which tests drivers through either touch or breath. If the government and automakers [...]

  • Utah may lower the legal alcohol limit to .05% — a first in the nation

    If a tough new proposal in Utah becomes law, just a few drinks — or even a few swigs — could put you over the limit for drunk driving. An effort is underway in the state to lower the legal blood-alcohol concentration for driving to .05 — a first in the nation. Currently, all 50 states have a .08 cap, eschewing suggestions from the National Transportation Safety Board to redefine what constitutes drunk driving. But state Rep. Norman Thurston, a Republican from Provo who plans to introduce a bill on the issue in the upcoming legislative session, wants that to change in 2017. “Impairment starts [...]

  • For Public Health, Is Alcohol the Next Tobacco?

    The U.S. Surgeon General’s office has issued the agency’s first-ever report on addiction, which includes proposals for restricting alcohol access that critics say go too far and could end up targeting usage among even casual drinkers. The report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, provides tools for medical providers to help patients struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and points to policy changes communities can consider. The recommendations are similar to public health efforts implemented after a 1964 surgeon general report on tobacco that were eventually credited with a threefold decrease in the smoking rate, but some [...]

  • Life-Saving Drunk Driving Bill Signed Into California Law; Judges Can Order First Offenders To Use Ignition Interlocks

    Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), led by a team of California volunteers and staff, strongly supported SB 1046 along with more than 40 other traffic safety, medical and first responder organizations. “No parent should have to lose their child to the criminal negligence of a drunk driver — especially when technology exists to prevent such a tragedy,” said Mary Klotzbach, a member of MADD’s national board whose son Matt was killed by a drunk driver in 2001. “Ignition interlocks are an effective weapon against drinking and driving. Today, I want to thank Governor Brown, Senator Jerry Hill and the California Legislature [...]

  • State passes new DUI punishment: Governor signs Jerry Hill’s interlock ignition device bill

    Driving drunk in California could soon have new consequences after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law seeking to require more offenders install interlock devices in their cars. State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, authored the law that will expand an existing pilot program statewide and require many convicted of the crime to use the devices that act as a breathalyzer attached to their vehicle’s ignition. On Wednesday, Brown signed Hill’s Senate Bill 1046, which was supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving but aroused concerns from the American Beverage Institute. “This is a great day for California and this bill will clearly save [...]

  • With Moderate Drinking Under Fire, Alcohol Companies Go on Offensive

    At a brewers’ conference this spring, an alcohol lobbyist fired a warning shot in what has become a multimillion-dollar global battle. Public-health officials “want to tell you that alcohol causes cancer,” Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute, told the crowd. The industry, she said, was in danger of losing its “health halo.” For decades, beer, wine and liquor producers have been helped by a notion, enshrined in a number of governments’ dietary advice, that a little alcohol can provide modest coronary and other health benefits. Rapidly, that advice is shifting as health-policy officials around the world scrutinize their previous [...]

  • MADD: Car-locking systems stopped 1.77 million drunk drivers

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Car-locking systems have stopped more than 1.77 million people from driving drunk since states first passed laws requiring offenders to install them in 1999, Mothers Against Drunk Driving said in a first-of-its-kind report on the devices nationwide. The data come from the 11 major manufactures of the ignition interlock systems, and the report was released Wednesday. The devices, the size of a cellphone, are wired into vehicles. A convicted drunken driver must blow into the device to get a blood alcohol content reading before the vehicle will start. The system sends a signal back to its manufacturer [...]

  • No Alcohol for Sexually Active Women Without Birth Control, C.D.C. Recommends

    Sexually active women who are not on birth control should refrain from alcohol to avoid the risk of giving birth to babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, even if those women are not yet known to be pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended. The C.D.C. report, released on Tuesday, estimated that 3.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 who drink alcohol risk exposing their infants to the disorders, which can stunt children’s growth and cause lifelong disabilities. The report, which appeared to refer exclusively to heterosexual sex, also said that three in four women who intend to get pregnant [...]