Drinkers at bars in Utah may soon have help deciding if they’re sober enough to drive. Breathalyzers could appear in bars across the state if Utah’s legislature adopts a measure proposed by Republican Representative Greg Hughes, who wants to reduce drunk driving in Utah.
Installing breathalyzer machines near juke boxes, video games, and pool tables would help younger drinkers who are still learning their limits, Hughes told the Associated Press in February. “It makes good sense,” Hughes said.
The proposal doesn’t mandate breathalyzer installations, but it would ensure that the drinking establishments aren’t held liable for customers who fail a breath test yet decide to drive anyway. However, some Utah bar owners are challenging the proposal. The commercial breathalyzer devices cost as much as a thousand dollars, and their accuracy is frankly suspect. Bob McCarthy, a Salt Lake City bar owner, worries that if his customers register a low blood alcohol content (BAC) level, they’ll be tempted to drink more and to drive when they shouldn’t.
In 2010, drunk drivers were responsible for about 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S, but in Utah, drunk drivers caused only about 10 percent of the traffic fatalities that year. Utah DUI arrests have also declined in recent years, and lawmakers want to prevent that number from rising. The DUI arrest rate is somewhat higher in California, which currently has no formal plan to install breathalyzer machines at bars.
If you are charged with DUI in California, speak at once to an experienced California DUI defense attorney. Penalties for DUI can be quite stiff in this state, even for first offenders, and a conviction goes on your criminal record and negatively impacts your life for years to come. You’ll face a license suspension and possibly a fine or even jail time. A good DUI defense lawyer will defend your rights and work aggressively for the best possible resolution to your case. If you or a loved one faces a DUI charge in California, get the legal help you need immediately from an experienced DUI defense attorney.