Alcohol Lobby Not Happy About Utah Drunk Driving Laws

There’s no question that the alcohol lobby was not impressed when Utah drunk driving laws changed to a much lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The state was the first in the entire country to change the legal BAC to .05 from the national BAC of .08, and since that ruling the American Beverage Institute, a lobbying group for alcohol producers and sellers, has struck back hard with an attempt to stir things up in their favor.

What they came up with was an advertisement that one media outlet deemed “provocative,” but if you really think about it, it’s just as accurate to call it misleading. That might be why The Deseret News choose not to run the ad at all.

The ad pictured a few state senators and members of the Utah House of Representatives who, at a glance, have a few things in common. First, they all appear older than 65, and second, they all voted for the bill to lower the BAC. The Governor is also pictured in the ad.

The reason these lawmakers were selected for the ad becomes quite clear once you read the copy. It states, “If Utah legislators believe drivers at .05 should go to jail, should those over 65 be arrested for DWO (Driving While Older)?” Clearly, the American Beverage Institute wants you to believe that anyone who drives over the age of 65 is just as impaired as someone who drives drunk with a .05 BAC.

That’s not true, and this isn’t the first ad they’ve run in Utah. Another ad had a couple getting pulled over and a copy line stating, “Just wanted to thank you for passing the .05 BAC law. Arresting moderate social drinkers for having as little as one drink will certainly make us look more attractive to most tourists, businesses and skiers, Sincerely, Colorado.”

What is the American Beverage Institute attempting to gain with these ads? They’d like to push the narrative that the .05 BAC is too low and the change is not needed, but what they’re missing is that most people in Utah are fine with the change to Utah drunk driving laws. Thankfully the Utah media agrees with the public.

At the end of the day the lower BAC in Utah will save lives, and it may only be a matter of time before other states get on board with the same change.

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