Hospitality industry says Utah .05 percent DUI law targets wrong people, hurts tourism

Chris Curtis, Adobe Stock

Utah’s lowest-in-the-nation DUI law targets the wrong people and hurts tourism, restaurant and hospitality associations told state lawmakers Wednesday.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s lowest-in-the-nation DUI law targets the wrong people and hurts tourism, restaurant and hospitality associations told state lawmakers Wednesday.

Mary Crafts-Homer, Visit Salt Lake chairwoman and owner of the state’s largest catering company, said the law has already impacted the state’s booming destination wedding business. All of the brides who had weddings booked called to know how it would affect them, she said.

“I don’t know how many people haven’t called me because they decided because of this law they’re going to go to Colorado,” she told the Transportation Interim Committee.

Crafts-Homer told legislators the law isn’t going after chronic drunken drivers, but targets social drinkers and creates a negative perception of the state.

“I’d take the hit economically if I thought this law was going to save lives,” she said. “But I don’t.”

Utah became the first state in the nation earlier this year to lower the legal blood alcohol content for driving to .05 percent. The committee is reviewing the law for any unintended consequences before it takes effect Dec. 30, 2018.

“People are not drunk at .05. They are sober at .05,” Sarah Longwell, executive director of the American Beverage Institute, told lawmakers. “Putting sober people in jail; that’s an unintended consequence.”

The organization based in Washington, D.C., has mounted a campaign to repeal the law, including…

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