Bill would require breathalyzers in every Utah bar

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill being drafted in the Utah State Legislature would require every bar in the state to install a breathalyzer for customers to use before they walk out the door after a night of drinking.

The bill, being drafted by House Majority Whip Greg Hughes, R-Draper, would not force drinkers to use them before leaving a bar — but would be “informative,” he said Thursday.

“It’ll help people make better choices when they’re deciding whether to operate a vehicle or not,” Hughes told FOX 13 News.

Under the bill, restaurants would be exempted. Hughes insisted the breathalyzers would not collect any data on drinkers, nor would people be forced to blow before they walk out the door. He hoped it would prevent drunk driving.

“Hopefully, it will be a smart resource if they decide to leave and get in a car,” Hughes said.

Many bars and clubs have already installed similar devices. Jason Knott, who founded Breath Advisor, created one after almost getting a DUI himself several years ago. For $2, people can check their blood alcohol content before leaving and it will even summon a cab for people too drunk to drive.

“I think it’s surprising that it’s gotten to that point, that it has to be required by law to have these,” Knott said. “You’d think bar owners would realize it’s a good idea, if it’s executed properly.”

Hughes acknowledged some pushback to his bill from bar and club owners. He said he was looking at ways to mitigate license violations for those that would have them, as well as addressing liability concerns if someone drove drunk anyway.

The bill is expected to be made public next week.

11 comments

  • Scott Marshall

    no…as much as i would like to see something like this to inform those of their limits…i feel its beyond the scope of what should be required for adults that make their own choices…next step would be a failed test to a holding cell in the bar

  • Keegan

    And this will prevent people from driving drunk how? I think it’s pretty obvious when you can’t legally drive a car after too many drinks!

  • Eric Anderson

    Ridiculous. It’s the responsibility of the drinker to stay legal.

    It’s already illegal to drive drunk. What is the point of another law of we don’t take existing ones seriously? DUI should be a FELONY. First time, every time. Permanent loss of driving privilege. Jail time. HUGE fine. No exceptions.

    THAT would get people’s attention. Choosing to drive drunk is a calculated risk. So let’s change the calculus.

    If I chose to set up on the mountainside with a high powered rifle, get drink, and randomly fire shots out into the city “because I was drunk”, or “I felt like it”, or “I needed the practice”, or whatever……I would be guilty of a felony. Obviously. Why, then is using a 2000 pound projectile to randomly place innocent people in danger any less of an offense? Especially considering that THOUSANDS die every year. Vastly more than are shot. I don’t understand why we don’t treat drunk driving like a serious offense until someone dies.

      • Yeshua yenny

        Take a look at his FB page RyNo. He would argue that it’s friday today if he knew you were of any other opinion than his. Typical inbred Utah ignoramus and unofficial Fox pundit.

  • D.D.

    Who would benefit financially from this? Greg Hughes himself? Brother-in-law? Business associate? How about installing an I.Q. meter in the Legislature?

  • The Internet

    I’m pretty sure this has been done in the past, and was stopped because blowing high became a contest. You can die.

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