Gov. Gary Herbert Signed A DUI Bill That Wreaks Utah’s Tourism

November 13, 2017

It seems that the bill signed by Gov. Gary Herbert weakens the Utah’s tourism industry.

The state of Utah now has the lowest BAC level threshold after the bill was signed by Gov. Gary Herbert that reduced the BAC level from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.

Starting 30th of December 2018, a person may only consume a single drink or two after which he/she will be considered as drunk according to the set BAC level limit.

A report released by Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah in 2017 showed that travelers and tourists spent almost $8.4 billion in Utah in the previous year. It is also shown that the travel and tourism industry created 85,000 jobs in 2016, making it the 8th biggest industry in Utah.

A record of 4.6 million skier days was set in the 2016-2017 ski season. The 5 national parks of Utah were visited by nearly 10.1 million individuals, which was also more than any other year.

The issue is that tourists and other individuals going on vacation don’t just choose Utah for sports like skiing, snowboarding and bicycling, but they also want to enjoy the unique foods and drinks while on vacation. However, now they don’t want to choose Utah to spend their vacations.

The tourism industry of Utah requested Herbert not to sign the bill and implement it. Not only has the tourism industry been weakened by the bill, but the hospitality industry as well, which also requested the same. Some of Utah’s residents were also not in favor of the bill and they didn’t want it to be signed. However, he signed the bill and said that it will assist in saving precious lives.

In the time period of 2015 to 2016, the number of fatalities that occurred due to driving under the influence of alcohol reduced to 11 percent even when the BAC level was not 0.05 percent. In the fatal crash summary released in 2016, it was shown that driving under the influence was the 8th leading reason of fatalities as just 33 individuals died that year due to DUI. Speeding took the lives of 108 individuals and not wearing a seat belt became the reason of the death of 80 individuals. DUI didn’t take the lives of many as compared to speeding.

It is said that if the state truly wants to save precious lives, they should consider investing in technology and pay attention to decreasing acts like speeding. There is also a need of improving the usage of seat belts.

The reduction of BAC level to 0.05 percent will not make the roadways safer, but it affects the economy negatively.

The penalties for 0.05 violations were not made lenient by the state law enforcement officials and Herbert. Therefore, the Utah Substance Use and Mental Health Advisory Council sided with the police.

The board voted in favor of the bill, so attention was not paid on making the penalties lenient which would have reduced its impact on the ski industry, restaurants and bars.

Now as the bill is signed, when Utah will face the loss of tourism jobs and tax revenue, it’s Herbert who will be blamed.

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Court Koehler

About the Author

Court practices all types of criminal and bankruptcy law, however, he has focused his practice on DUI defense, drug possession, record expungement, and Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy claims.
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