Washington D.C.—Today, Governor Herbert has ignored public demand. He announced his decision to sign into law H.B. 155—making Utah the only state to lower the blood-alcohol content (BAC) arrest level by 38% from .08 to .05. The American Beverage Institute (ABI) strongly condemns the governor for his ill-advised decision that is not supported by any evidence that it will improve traffic safety.
Sarah Longwell, ABI’s Managing Director, issued the following statement about Governor Herbert’s decision:
It’s a sad day for Utah. Governor Herbert’s decision to sign Utah’s .05 legislation will not only harm the people of Utah, but cripple their restaurant and tourism industries. A 120 pound woman can now have little more than a single drink before being subject to arrest, $10,000 in fines, attorney fees, increased insurance costs, and the social stigma of being labeled a “drunk driver”—which will lead many to forgo that glass of wine with dinner.
The governor’s decision will not only cripple Utah industry staples, and convict what are presently considered to be responsible people, but misses an important opportunity to target the hardcore drunk drivers who cause the great majority of fatalities on Utah roads. Most alcohol-related fatalities occur at BAC levels 3 times that of .05. So while traffic safety resources are focused on responsible consumers, the alcohol-abusing fringe can slip through the cracks of enforcement against alcohol misuse.