Washington D.C.—Tomorrow, the American Beverage Institute (ABI) will run a full-page advertisement in the Salt Lake Tribune opposing Utah’s move to lower the blood-alcohol arrest level for driving from .08 to .05. The ad highlights research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that reveals drivers over the age of 65 are more impaired than a driver with a BAC of .05. If Utah lawmakers are prepared to jail someone who’s had little to drink, then they should also be prepared to bar people over the age of 65 from driving. ABI strongly urges Governor Herbert and the Utah legislature to repeal the .05 BAC law before it goes into effect at the end of 2018.

The satirical full-page ad is titled “Too Impaired to Drive?” and features the pictures of eleven Utah lawmakers—including the governor—who are 65 years old or above. It goes on to ask the question, “If Utah legislators believe drivers at .05 should go to jail, should those over 65 be arrested for DWO (Driving While Older)?”

View the full-page ad here.

Sarah Longwell, ABI’s Managing Director, issued the following statement:

While the new .05 BAC arrest level is no doubt well-intentioned, the core argument for the move is flawed. Proponents claim that a driver is notably impaired at .05, but that simply isn’t the case. In this kind of analysis, the key word is “notably.” Almost anything increases the risk of a car accident to some degree—even something as innocent as listening to the radio. In fact, a driver who is talking on a hands-free cell phone or who slept several hours fewer than usual the night before is more impaired than a driver at the former DUI arrest level of .08. And where this ad is specifically concerned, someone who is driving over the age of 65 is scientifically more impaired than a driver at .05. With this in mind, Utah lawmakers need to put traffic safety threats into perspective and apply their finite resources to problems backed up by logic, not blindly follow emotional pleas. That way we can actually make Utah’s roads safer.

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