Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune published a version of this op-ed here. We are reposting this so that interested readers can view the citations.
Alcohol is a merciless killer. Every 53 minutes, alcohol-impaired driving kills someone on the roads in America, according to federal government data. Almost 10,000 lives lost unnecessarily each year. In 2011, 181 of these deaths were children under 14.
Controlling the production and use of alcoholic beverages saves innocent lives from such a tragic and premature end. These laws prevent traffic deaths by keeping impaired drivers off the road. They help safeguard innocent people from domestic violence and sexually transmitted diseases caused by alcohol-impaired decision making. And they protect the vulnerable and susceptible, such as children and recovering alcoholics, from the chains of alcohol abuse and addiction.
Yet despite all the benefits to society from alcohol control laws – grounded in common sense, sound research, and clear-minded observation – some people still fight efforts to improve Utah’s alcohol control laws.
Those who profit from looser liquor laws have come out screaming “NO!” in response to efforts to provide policymakers with research and facts regarding the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that states should lower the limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) – for all drivers – from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.
Alas, their objections to this proposed improvement are refuted by decades of sound research. (Read on for citations.)