Anti-DUI law ad in Nevada warns, ‘Go to Utah on vacation, leave on probation’

First Published      Last Updated May 24 2017 12:02 pm

Advertising campaign » National group warns tourists of the Beehive State’s threshold, which will be the U.S.’s lowest.

A national restaurant association is continuing an ad campaign warning potential tourists — in Nevada this time — that because of Utah's new toughest-in-the-nation drunken driving law, people going there on vacation, may leave on probation.

The American Beverage Institute (ABI) bought a full-page with that warning, which will appear Wednesday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It bought a similar ad previously in Idaho, and plans them in other states that provides tourists to Utah.

The newly passed HB155 would make Utah the first state to lower to blood-alcohol content (BAC) to be considered legally drunk while driving from 0.08 to 0.05. It does not take effect until Dec. 30, 2018 — 19 months from now.

Gov. Gary Herbert has called on the Legislature to tweak the law, saying he would not oppose such things as creating lesser penalties for those arrested with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.079 than for those with higher levels, or perhaps waiting for other states to enact stricter limits first.

Sarah Longwell, ABI's managing director, said that with the new limit, a 120-pound woman could be legally drunk after about one drink. "It's no wonder vacationers from neighboring states — such as Nevada — would think twice about staying in a ski resort in Utah with such a law in place."

The ad says that Utah's new law means that "as little as one drink with dinner before driving home could land you in jail. Time for Nevadans to rethink their vacation plans!"

More than 100 other countries now have a 0.05 BAC. The National Transportation Safety Board supports the law and says it will save lives — saying driving impairment begins with one drink.

The ABI also launched an online petition opposing the new law. It said it gathered more than 1,300 signatures in its first day. The petition is at responsiblelimits.com.