Ad targeting Utah’s .05 percent DUI law now running in Las Vegas newspaper

ST. GEORGE — A national organization is continuing its campaign against Utah’s recently passed .05 legal blood alcohol content for driving law by running a full-page advertisement in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that reads, “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.”

A full-page newspaper advertisement placed by the American Beverage Institute targeting Utah’s .05 percent DUI law. The group has been running the ads in newspapers in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and, most recently, Nevada | Photo courtesy of the American Beverage Institute, St. George News

The ad, placed by the American Beverage Institute, hit the Nevada newspaper Wednesday.

“The ad warns Nevada vacationers of the potential to be subjected to DUI charges for having little more than a single drink before driving,” according to a statement issued Tuesday by the organization. “And since Nevada sends the third most tourists to Utah — behind California and Idaho — they need to understand how the new law could impact them.”

The full-page advertisement ends by warning Nevadans that it’s time to “rethink their vacation plans.” View the full-page ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal here.

The group has been running similar ads in newspapers in Utah, Colorado and Idaho.

Sarah Longwell, the beverage institute’s executive director, said while supporters of the .05 legislation may have good intentions, lowering the BAC arrest threshold is a “mistake.”

“This law fails to target the dangerous drunk drivers who cause the vast majority of alcohol-related fatalities and instead targets moderate, responsible drinkers,” Longwell said. “At this level, a 120-pound woman could be subjected to arrest, $10,000 in fines, hiked insurance rates and the stigma of being labeled a drunk driver after having little more than a single drink.”

State legislators approved lowering the arrest level from .08 BAC to .05 BAC and Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill into law earlier this year. The new threshold in Utah takes effect Dec. 30, 2018, making Utah the first state in the nation to adopt a .05 BAC limit and the strictest DUI limit in the U.S.

The American Beverage Institute has also launched an online petition opposing the .05 percent blood alcohol content law and is strongly urging Gov. Herbert and the Utah legislature to repeal the law during the upcoming special legislative session in June.

The petition had garnered more than 1,300 signatures within 24 hours.

“It would be one thing if lowering the arrest level to .05 would actually save lives,” Longwell said, adding that all the law does is distract law enforcement officials from targeting dangerous offenders with a .15 BAC and above who cause 77 percent of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Utah.

“Only 1 percent of traffic fatalities involve drivers with BACs between .05 and .08 because at those levels, impairment is not meaningful. In fact, talking on a hands-free cellphone is more impairing than driving at the current BAC arrest level of .08 and simply driving over the age of 65 is more impairing than the proposed threshold of .05.”

The group said traffic safety officials should focus on the “truly dangerous drunk drivers” while allowing both vacationers and Utahans to “enjoy a drink with dinner without the threat of jail.”

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Twitter: @STGnews

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

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  • wilbur May 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm


    Competition among the states for the public’s discretionary money.

  • Caveat_Emptor May 24, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Let’s remember that there is a huge profit motive behind these ads, in that most eating establishments rely heavily on the wildly profitable alcoholic beverages for their existence.
    Utah is recognized globally for: its outdoor adventure activities, exceptional scenery, and of course as the HQ of the LDS church.
    Just about any tourist from outside of the US has to deal with 0.05% BAC regulations at home. Whether skiing powder in LCC, or hiking around Zion National Park, these folks will continue to enjoy what we have to offer.
    While Las Vegas has lost some momentum as an American gaming epicenter, thanks to numerous Native American casinos, they still have a leadership role in the market for adult entertainment……..
    Personally, if someone is offended by Utah’s proposed changes to the legal definition of impairment, then I am glad they did not visit. If weed is your intoxicant of choice, then Colorado has a great infrastructure for distribution, and Nevada is getting set up.
    Here in Whitetopia, many of us are perfectly happy with the upcoming legislation.
    Now, if they can figure out how to enforce the distracted driving regulations for text messengers, that would be “huge”….

    • Real Life May 25, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Yeah, we all know who is happy about the ridiculous laws passed here in the People’s Republic of Utah.

  • flicker May 24, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Perhaps self driving vehicles will solve the problem of drivers impaired by a host of circumstances.
    In the meantime, vacationers and Utahans can “enjoy a drink with dinner without the threat of jail ” since as the article states “having little MORE than a single drink” may get you over the limit. For those wishing more than that single drink there are cabs, designated drivers, walking, drinking at home, etc if you really must get your BAC over that .05 limit.

  • great success May 24, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    I don’t get. Much of Joseph Smith’s revelations were fueled by alcohol, but state of Utah wants to continue criminalizing it. If I were these Utah lawmakers, I’d say it’s time to go back to your roots!! Maybe visions and the speaking of animated tongues will reimmerge, just like in the inception days of the church!!

    • AnotherReader May 25, 2017 at 6:22 am

      We hear a lot about “fake news” these days. Thanks @greatsuc for the “fake history”.

      • great success May 25, 2017 at 9:20 am

        I’d suggest you do your research instead of just taking the filtered message from today’s church at face value. Joseph Smith absolutely drank alcohol. He documents it in his own writing many times. Brigham Young as well and, practically, the general Mormon culture at the time. Not until after Joseph F. Smith in early 1900s did the Word of Wisdom as known today in the church even begin to be “enforced.” (I put quotes around enforced because even in early 1900s the WOWs standards were still not as strict as today’s). In the genesis of the church, a member could drink and still be in good standing with God 🙂

        Props, though, for trying to write off the facts with the Trumpism “fake history,” when the facts don’t match your own belief or agenda.

        • AnotherReader May 25, 2017 at 1:30 pm

          @greatsuc, and spouting off your own opinion doesn’t make something factual either. Your own historical research falls short when trying to make your claim. Common alcohol practices in the early and mid 1800’s hardly serve as evidence of “alcohol-fueled revelations”. Try again.

          • comments May 25, 2017 at 4:26 pm

            Might notta been alcohol, but it certainly was something. I dunno what kinda drugs they back in them days? hallucinogens? Maybe some of that skunkweed growing wild along the ditch banks. Maybe young Joe Smith smoked it?

          • Real Life May 25, 2017 at 10:17 pm

            Well there was definetly something fueling those “revelations”.

          • 42214 May 26, 2017 at 3:32 pm

            Joe and Brigham were probably trying to drink one of their many wives pretty and it got in the way of their divine revelations.

  • Henry May 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Perhaps Utah could counter with a similar ad campaign. Instead of alcohol, they could point out the restrictions that Nevada has regarding texting and hands-on cell phone usage while driving, compared to Utah’s lax laws and enforcement on the same. (Sarc)

    • comments May 25, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Yep, UT could advertise it like “Come to Utah and drive like hell while texting/talking on your phone. We won’t even pull you over.”

  • flicker May 24, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    “Only 1 percent of traffic fatalities involve drivers with BACs between .05 and .08 because at those levels, impairment is not meaningful.” 1% of 40,000 traffic fatalities (2016) is 400 fatalities. I’m pretty sure the families of those 400 people don’t view that impairment as “not meaningful”.

    • Californicater May 25, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Let’s hope that 1 percent isn’t your spouse or child?

  • comments May 24, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    “Only 1 percent of traffic fatalities involve drivers with BACs between .05 and .08 because at those levels, impairment is not meaningful. In fact, talking on a hands-free cellphone is more impairing than driving at the current BAC arrest level of .08 and simply driving over the age of 65 is more impairing than the proposed threshold of .05.”

    Would that be 1% of traffic fatalities involving drunk driving or 1% of total nationwide traffic fatalities. Because if it is the latter that is a very significant number–1000s of lives per year.

    As someone who rarely if ever consumes alcohol anymore I can tell you: if your system isn’t used to it (bc ur non-drinker or haven’t drunk in a long while, etc, etc) all it takes is one drink to be impaired enough that you should not drive, period, regardless of BAC. And if you’re pulled over for erratic driving, and a cop suspects you’ve been drinking to the point of impairment and requires a breathalyzer, let’s be real, you were probably too impaired to be driving.

    • comments May 24, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      so, I say go with the .05 if it saves life and encourages responsible drinking.

    • comments May 24, 2017 at 11:36 pm

      oop, mighta got the maths wrong in there, lol. Deaths of 1% might be something like 402 for 2016.

  • utahdiablo May 24, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Better yet….don’t come……we don’t need more tourists

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