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Breathalyzer in bars? Rep. Greg Hughes changes course after stiff criticism

Recently, House Majority Whip Greg Hughes planned on making breathalyzers in bars a requirement for all clubs and bars in the Utah area. However, the legislator has changed his mind after receiving backlash for the proposed bill. As reported by the Salt Lake City Tribune on Feb. 14, the bill would have possibly made breathalyzers in bars mandatory. Hughes was also considering whether to make the breathalyzers a requirement only for those establishments which have been cited for code violations.

"The original idea was to really mandate that these breathalyzers … would be available in a club or bar," Hughes said. Hughes also clarified that the bill would not affect restaurants that mainly served food and it was meant for establishments that primarily serve alcohol.

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When asked about the breathalyzers in bars proposal, Hughes gave the following statement:

"The idea is "to let patrons know where their limit is at. If you drive on a road and see a speed limit sign, you have something in your car [a speedometer] to know how fast you’re going. Especially young people at 21 or 22 ... might not know where their blood-alcohol level is at. It’s a good way to know what’s going on before you get into a car and operate it.

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Shortly after announcing his breathalyzer in bars proposal, some media outlets accused Hughes of " taking draconian measures to make Utah's unique liquor laws stranger."

Apparently, the media's angry reaction to the idea of making breathalyzers in bars mandatory was heard loud and clear by Hughes and during a press conference Friday, he announced that the idea is no longer being considered.

"There will not be a requirement that bars or clubs have to have this Breathalyzer on premise," Hughes said.

Although some believe breathalyzers in bars would be an effective way to lower drunk driving in Utah, many are not in favor of making it a mandatory requirement.

Bob McCarthy, who owns a Salt Lake City bar, spoke on the breathalyzers in bar proposal and he gave the following statement:

"Somebody could feel they shouldn't be driving but the number says 0.08, which is right on the border, so maybe they'll go and they shouldn't go," he stated.

Do you agree with the idea of making breathalyzers in bars mandatory? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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