Washington, D.C.—Today, the American Beverage Institute (ABI) applauds Rep. Karen Kwan for filing H.B. 345—legislation that will delay Utah’s .05 blood-alcohol arrest level until 2022. The statute is currently set to take effect December of this year, but a number of issues involving the impact on restaurants and bars, enforcement, and tourism concerns still loom.
ABI has recently released a number of one-page explainer documents—sent to all Utah legislators—on the state’s .05 law. You can read them below:
Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute, released the following statement:
While the better outcome for both the safety of Utah’s drivers and economic interests is a full repeal of the .05 law, delaying implementation is a step in the right direction. It gives lawmakers time to address already existing traffic safety policies that are failing because of lack of enforcement—such as Utah’s ignition interlock law—and will give the hospitality and tourism industries, along with legislators, time to navigate the laws potential unintended consequences. Certain talking points from advocates of the law require further scrutiny and consideration. For example, many Utah lawmakers cite Europe’s .05 limits as a main reason we need .05 laws in the U.S. However, this notion fails to consider that European countries allow teenagers to drink and that their penalties for exceeding a .05 limit are closer to a traffic infraction. Utah’s law would become one of the strictest in the world, putting a 120 pound women in jail for having little more than one drink before driving. If Utah wants to set an example for the nation in traffic safety, they should slow down and make sure the laws they’re passing are the right ones.