Testimony given by Stan Rasmussen in support of HB 155 (Driving Under the Influence and Public Safety Revisions) on June 21, 2017, before the Transportation Interim Committee of the Utah Legislature.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and good afternoon legislators. My name is Stan Rasmussen and I represent Sutherland Institute.
HB 155 is about public safety.
The intent is to diminish the vehicle fatalities, injuries and damage caused by alcohol-impaired drivers.
The message is Don’t Drink and Drive – for the purpose of achieving the stated goal of Zero Fatalities.
This is not about drinking, but about encouraging and educating drivers to make safer choices when they do drink. Again, specifically: Don’t Drink and Drive.
Establishing and enacting public policy to more fully assure public safety is the role and responsibility of the Legislature – which gratefully you and your colleagues fulfilled during the 2017 general session when you passed this bill.
As we have heard again today, the very early indications are that the intended messaging of the bill is already having the intended effect – the intended consequences, if you will: motorists are more consciously choosing to not drink and drive.
Regarding potential impacts on tourism, with Utah’s change to.08 BAC from .10 BAC in 1983, there was no measurable harm to or negative impact on state tourism. This fact is illustrated by data published in 2014 by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah – the relevant pages of which are in the materials you have received today. The charts on those pages specifically focusing on skier days (Figure 14, p. 7) and Utah national park visitation (Figure 15, p. 8) make very clear that the .08 change had no impact on tourism in Utah.
As HB 155 goes into effect, instead of what the American Beverage Institute’s paid advertising is saying, more accurately the tag line may be:
‘Come to Utah, have a wonderful vacation, return home happy and alive – and come back again next year!’