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Breathalyzer in bars: Utah could put devices straight into bars

Could Utah really get breathalyzers directly into bars?
Could Utah really get breathalyzers directly into bars?
Rick Bowmer

A lawmaker in Utah is hoping that a bill designed to put breathalyzers in bars will pass and help cut down on drunken driving, according to the Herald Extra on Feb. 14, 2014. Breathalyzers and similar devices could end up popping up in bars across Utah under the proposal that has been put forth by Draper Republican Rep. Greg Hughes.

"It makes good sense," he said today.

Hughes believes that younger drinkers still learning their limits could truly benefit from from the breathalyzers in bars. They will surely not miss them if they're sitting near dart boards, pool tables, and juke boxes.

A number of bar owners are hesitant to back the bull as they wonder just how well the breathalyzers will actually read alcohol levels in a person's blood stream. The devices can also run a hefty price tag of up to $1,000.

Hughes has let it be known that measure will not require any establishments to install the breathalyzers in their bars. It will also not hold a business responsible for customers that may fail a breath test and still decide to drive.

It has also been said that police would not have access to any data collected on the machines.

"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," bar owner Bob McCarthy said.

McCarthy believes that if drinkers see something like that, they want to try and challenge the reading and drive anyway.

Hughes hopes to have the breathalyzers in bars bill ready by sometime the upcoming week.

"It's not illegal to drink in the state of Utah," Hughes told reporters earlier in the week. "It's not illegal to drink and operate a vehicle" with an alcohol level below the legal cutoff. But, he added, "How does a consumer know where they're at, exactly? I think it makes sense."

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