Monday, January 12, 2009

Alcohol Policy -- My Take

State Senator John Valentine offers up the Republican side of the Senate's take on Utah's liquor laws, and it needs a response.

Bottom Line: Proposals that put more drunk drivers on the street will have a remarkably short run in the Senate. The same goes for proposals that would tend to entice our kids towards alcohol abuse. However, proposals that will make Utah less awkward but preserve the beneficial effect of current law will likely have my support and, I believe, the support of the Utah State Senate.

Here is the key:

1. We're concerned by violence done by impaired drivers on Utah streets.

2. We're concerned by the harmful impact of underage drinking.

3. At some level we're concerned by the harmful effects of overconsumption.

I agree so far, in principal. However, some of the laws on the books entice MORE drunk driving (i.e. bars must close at 2), not to mention stupid regulations at some establishments like my place of employment. I also disagree that any of the changes will "entice" minors into drinking.

Do we love "antiquated laws" that make Utah look quirky? No. And yet that unique package of law is an integral part of our low DUI rates and underage drinking. They have a substantial beneficial effect.

Utah has the lowest alcohol-related fatality rate in the nation. Compare the stats on page 6. Seventeen percent of highway deaths in Utah are alcohol-related compared to 31 percent in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. The rate in Idaho is 28 percent. Texas is 38 percent.

Underage drinking in Utah is about half the national average.

Actually, I'd be willing to bet that I can find something that has more of an effect on this statistic than Private Clubs and the Zion Curtain combined.

"strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies." -Doctrine and Covenants 89:7.

Some statistics I would like to see:

-Number of drunk driving accidents/arrests where the person was traveling from a private club or a restaurant.

-Number of drunk driving accidents/arrests by someone who s a repeat offender whogot a minimal jail sentence.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?



Oldenburg said...

By law, if a prosecutor can prove that a person has had 3 DUIs with a ten year period, they get at least a year in prison.

If it is "only" two, or more spaced out in time (or they can't prove the 3 with 10 yrs), it is a misdemeanor.

The Regal Seagull said...

The Regal Seagull's official alcohol policy is to drink it.

Sheila said...

Yes, you're so very right!!
But here's a painful point, that many are suffering from & it's the near unknown ability, all liquor contains, to deal out severe, permanent health afflictions, as it see's fit !
With no ryme or reason & worst of all, no known cure's either !!
One minute you're healthy, fit, extremely well educated & employed, not a worry in the world. Then suddenly, your entire life is brought to an immediate hault!
And this is the 'legal' scourge of our society, with no end in sight !!!
Everything from Grand-Mal Seizures, near complete blindness &/or deafness, rotted livers of no further use & good old heart attacks.
And our youth are jumping in, near head first !
Here in Canada, there's an ongoing fight, to somehow convince our Government Leaders, for legislation, forcing all containers to bear Health Warning Labels. Will it ever be ????
Who knows.............!?!
In the meantime, our teens could be setting themselves up for such grief, they have no idea !!
Then what's going to happen when all us old farts are in nursing homes, being spoon fed & diaperred?
Who will be able to take over our many professions ???
Now that's one scary thought indeed !

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