Satirical anti-DUI ad jabs at state lawmakers 65-and-older

A part of the satirical ad from the American Beverage Institute poking at the driving ability of state lawmakers over 65, calling them 'more impaired' than individuals would be subject to the state's new .05 blood-alcohol content limit law. | Image courtesy of the American Beverage Institute, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – An ad campaign by a national alcohol group targeting Utah’s new .05 blood alcohol limit has struck again, though this time it’s going after particular elected state officials 65 and older.

The ad states research shows individuals of that age are “more impaired” than someone driving with a blood-alcohol content of .05.

The ad features Gov. Gary Herbert, who is 70, along with 10 Utah legislators, including Rep. V. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, who turns 67 next month, and Sen. Don Ipson, R-St. George, who is also 70.

A satirical ad from the American Beverage Institute poking at the driving ability of state lawmakers over 65, calling them ‘more impaired’ than individuals who would be subject to the state’s new .05 blood-alcohol content limit law. | Click to enlarge | Image courtesy of the American Beverage Institute, St. George News

“Research from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows people over 65 are more impaired ANY TIME they drive than consumers at Utah’s DUI arrest level of .05,” states the full-page ad from the American Beverage Institute (ABI) that ran the ad in The Salt Lake Tribune Thursday.

“If Utah legislators believe drivers at .05 should go to jail, should those over 65 be arrested for DWO (Driving While Old)?”

ABI’s managing director Sarah Longwell told The Salt Lake Tribune the ad is meant to show how silly the new .05 BAC law is.

“It’s absurd that you would keep people over 65 from driving and it’s absurd that a person who has had one drink and a low level of impairment would be put in jail,” she said.

The ABI has previously runs ads in Idaho and Nevada newspapers warning tourists to stay away from Utah due to the new law with lines like, “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.”

Utah passed the nation’s strictest drunk driving law earlier this year as it moved the blood-alcohol content limit for DUIs from .08 to .05. An argument supporting the change is that the new limit will ultimately save lives by getting people to change their attitudes and habits related to drinking and driving.

Basically, if you choose to imbibe, best not to think much about driving at all and leave it in the hands of someone else.

The law is supported by the National Transportation Safety Board which has advocated for a national .05 BAC limit since 2013.

While some may occasionally joke about older drivers – particularly in southwest Utah which is a favored destination for retirees – many state legislators weren’t so amused by Thursday’s ad.

I believe that kind of an approach to influence policy in the state lacks class and is in poor taste,” Snow said Thursday.

As many of his constituents are 65 and older, Snow said, he feels the ad offends seniors in general.

“If I were Donald Trump at this point, I’d just call it fake news,” Snow told the Deseret News Wednesday, adding he is a very good driver.

As for Ipson, his response was a bit milder. “I have no response,” he said.

The law is what it is and we’re making some tweaks to make it better,” he said, speaking of a recent meeting the Legislature had in June that addressed various issues, including the new BAC limit.

Some have expressed worries over the law’s “unintended consequences” once it takes effect Dec. 31, 2018, thus the needed modifications in part of it.

While Snow and Ipson both voted for lowering the BAC limit, the ABI’s ad has also drawn the ire of those who voted against it.

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, who expressed heavy opposition to the new BAC limit and started a petition asking the governor not to sign the measure into law, said over Twitter Wednesday: “I am appalled and outraged that they would put out this ad! Outraged!”

File – Speaker of the House Greg Hughes speaks with reporters, Salt Lake City, Jan. 24, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Fox 13 News, St. George News

While on KSL’s “The Doug Wright Show” Thursday, Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, R-Draper, who also opposed the new BAC law, said the ad was an attempt to bully legislators by putting their faces on the ad in an attempt to intimidate them.

“Ads like that go nowhere in Utah,” Hughes said, adding such ads “indict their own cause.”

“It might work in Washington, D.C., might work in other states, but that bullying, their fear tactics – it does not fly in our state,” he said.

As part of a press release issued Thursday, ABI clarified that it isn’t questioning the driving ability of those featured on the ad. Rather, it is meant to be an illustration of how absurd the beverage group believes the state’s .05 BAC law to be.

“Some have (perhaps willfully) interpreted the ad to mean that those over 65 shouldn’t drive. But the ad is making the exact opposite point,” the release reads. “Of course people over 65 should still be able to drive (assuming they are passing the necessary health requirements). The ad is meant to demonstrate just how unreasonable the new .05 limit is and put impairment levels into context.”

It further states: “For those legislators over 65 who have responded by saying they are great drivers — we agree! ABI does not believe those over 65 shouldn’t be able to drive any more than we think someone at .05 BAC should go to jail. It’s not an attack on older drivers, it’s an attack on the failed logic that led the legislature to pass this terrible .05 law.”

The ABI has also circulated a petition to repeal the law which it claims has garnered 15,000 signatures thus far.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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17 Comments

  • DRT July 14, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    “It’s not an attack on older drivers, it’s an attack on the failed logic that led the legislature to pass this terrible .05 law.”

    Since when does any intelligent person expect any logic out of politicians?

  • concerned dad July 14, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    That poster is so true, especially in St. George. Driving tips for town!
    1) avoid driving near the temple during the weekdays
    2) avoid the hospital all the time, especially when the snow-birds return.
    3) avoid buffets at around 4 o’clock
    4) avoid Sun River or 55 and over communities
    5) and most importantly go out of town during the World Senior Games.

    • mesaman July 15, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Corncerned dud, me thinks you should invest in a electric wheel chair, you may think you are still young but you are demented in the pre-frontal areas.

      • Navy_Vet_77 July 16, 2017 at 10:00 am

        So your comeback is to tell someone they are old who is basically making fun of old people? You thought that one through real hard didn’t you.

  • Real Life July 15, 2017 at 10:46 am

    This ad is all over social media, and it’s great!

    • .... July 17, 2017 at 2:26 am

      Oh wow it doesn’t take much to get you excited does it ?

  • Thecadean July 15, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Mass transit and auto driving car can not arrive too soon. Even my father, a resident of Florida and Chicago fears driving… in Florida.

  • Caveat_Emptor July 15, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Let’s agree, that the funding behind these advertising campaigns comes directly from the folks who financially benefit from the sale of adult beverages.
    My guess is that the future consumption of adult beverages will not change very much, but the venue may change. In other words, some of us may choose to have that second beer, or glass of wine, at home, instead of at the restaurant. The losers will be the restaurants that gouge customers with wildly marked up wine and pedestrian beer…..
    Frankly, it is time for Uber, Lyft, and the taxi industry to start a pro-0.05% BAC campaign, offering a safe alternative to get home.
    As others have pointed out, the greater threat is from distracted drivers who are focused on their smartphones, instead of driving.

    • Real Life July 15, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      0.05% is beyond stupid. A bill backed by the you know who’s. If you really want to combat drinking and driving, then really put the hammer to repeat offenders. Putting Mom in jail because she had HALF A GLASS OF WINE, is pure lunacy.

      • .... July 17, 2017 at 2:28 am

        beyond stupid eh ? Well you should know

    • NotSoFast July 15, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      OK Caveat_Emptor….. Go to your room. This is no time for expressing logic.
      Also, is it true that the state,( with the approval of the city), are planning on opening a state operated liquor store in the Sun River community with home delivery options? A project worth considering. No?

      • mesaman July 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm

        Logic? Not here NSF, the only way a half glass, (assuming we aren’t thinking of a 24 ounce K-mart super glass) which is about 4 ounces and 12% alcohol, would reach .05 would be if mom weighed 65 pounds. Nice try though.

        • Real Life July 16, 2017 at 11:54 am

          What would you know about this? You have lived your entire life under the cloak of the local cult. Now go take your medicine, and go back to sleep.

          • .... July 17, 2017 at 2:30 am

            You should follow your own advice , now take your medicine and get back in your crib where you belong

    • 42214 July 15, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Funding comes directly from these advertising campaigns that benefit from the sales of adult beverages? The state of Utah is the only one directly benefiting from the sales of adult beverages. I always thought it so hypocritical that the state is so opposed to alcohol but assumes an absolute monopoly on its sale and profits. The state says don’t drink, but if you do, give us your money. It just proves that the separation of church and state in Utah is about 2 blocks.

  • Rainbow Dash July 15, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    in a strange and funny turn of events the article right before this is about an old woman who drove her car into a wall on St George Blvd.

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