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 he’s planning to call a special session of the Utah Legislature later this summer to reconsider it. Tourism and beverage groups are furious, saying the new standard would consider a 120-pound woman who had one glass of wine with dinner and then drove home guilty of drunk driving. “We’re sending a message that maybe Colorado or Montana are better places to go for a ski vacation – or stay home in Idaho,” Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute, told the Statesman.
Idaho sends more vacationers to Utah than any other state than California, the institute says, with Nevada at No. 3. Sowell’s full report is online here.