Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
House bill advances to encourage Breathalyzers in Utah’s bars

It would protects owners from lawsuits and keeps patron results anonymous.

First Published Mar 05 2014 05:32 pm • Last Updated Mar 05 2014 10:05 pm

After an early proposal to require Breathalyzers in Utah bars became the butt of national jokes, a House committee on Wednesday endorsed a watered-down version to merely make it easier for bars to offer such vending machines.

The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously to advance HB190 to the full House.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"This bill is not a mandate of any kind," said its sponsor, House Majority Whip Greg Hughes, R-Draper. He once told the press he was considering mandates, but avoided them after noting some national media described that as a draconian measure that would make Utah’s unique liquor laws stranger.

The bill as now drafted would ensure the anonymity of people who use the machines, Hughes said, and avoid any results from being used against them later by law officers. It also would protect bar owners from being sued if a patron was later arrested for DUI after "passing" a test in a bar.

The bill also sets quality standards — requiring machines or single-use tests to be rated at 99.8 percent accuracy — and requires calibration every 30 days or after 300 uses.

"If we have a speed limit on the road, we want to know how fast we are going so we are obeying the law, so we have a speedometer in the car. If you are a drinker and you know there are certain blood-alcohol limits … having a device on premise would warn you," Hughes said.

"It would allow for people to make more informed choices when they are deciding when they have had enough or when they would operate a vehicle," he said.

The bill also would require written warnings that blood-alcohol content could increase after tests, depending on how long it has been since a patron had a drink.

It would also require machines to contain the warning, "The National Transportation Safety Board has found that crash risk is consistently and significantly elevated by the time an individual reaches a blood alcohol content of 0.05."

In Utah, drivers are considered drunk at .08 BAC. Under federal law, drivers of interstate commercial vehicles are considered drunk at .05.

story continues below
story continues below

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.