When the party people think about their next bar crawl destination, they obviously start mapping out a trip to Utah. Across the U.S., Salt Lake City and Park City are THE places to rock a weekend of binge drinking, body shots, and beer bongs. The lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law that passed in Utah this year was a total oversight of the drinking culture that Utah is best known for. That lower BAC limit will do nothing for public safety, except keep away the masses of spring break partygoers.
Okay, maybe not.
Yes, there is a lower Utah BAC limit. No, not one person is surprised or staying away from Utah because they cannot drink and drive as they did before. A lower BAC is not an ignition interlock device – it cannot prevent drunk driving, and it will not stop people from drinking responsibly either.
Utah BAC at-a-glance comparison:
- Utah’s DUI rate is at .7 percent, in comparison to the national average of 1.9 percent.
- Iowa drunk driving stands at 3.1 percent, Florida scores 2.1 percent.
- Utah’s drunk driving rate is at least one-third of salacious headliner state Florida and real-life drunk driving danger domain Iowa.
- People in Utah may drink less alcohol. Or perhaps they are just smarter about not driving if they have been drinking.
We all know that Utah is unique, BAC or no BAC. Regardless, a lower Utah BAC law is not going to change how tourists see the state because tourists are not visiting Utah to drink and drive.
The cries from the affected industry heads (those who profit from alcohol sales) about fewer tourists seem a little petty, considering how people continue to visit Utah and visit often. Tourism and associated employment rates rose from 2015-2016, and a lower BAC is not likely to affect that trend. Even if it did, the fact that the state is keeping DUI damage to a minimum is likely another attractive aspect to adventures in Utah.