The Idle American: Utah takes a stand against drinking and driving

The Salt Lake Mormon Temple stands tall above Utah.

In Utah, permissible blood alcohol content for drivers is now 0.05 percent, the lowest of any state.

I don’t know much about the Mormon Church, but I’ve always viewed most adherents as being generous with both their gifts and their time.

They number some 15 million worldwide, and in Utah–where about two million of three million citizens are Mormons–there’s considerable “co-mingling” of issues at both the state house and the church house. (Since Utah attained statehood in 1896, all of its governors–save two–have been Mormons.)

Most “church news” is spawned during semi-annual meetings, but a surprising new law from the state house kicked in on January 1. Permissible blood alcohol content for drivers is now 0.05 percent, the lowest of any state. This law goes against the grain of many drivers, so it might be well-noted that Utahns in the legislature who pushed this bill may add “courageous” to their names….


   Tourism officials are howling, fearful that this new law will have a negative effect on the throngs of snow-skiers who are attracted to the states picturesque slopes annually.

One lodge owner growled that visitors who have come in great numbers to “ski Utah” may not show the same enthusiasm if they abandon their “suds” when they “drive Utah.”

Uber drivers–particularly the “teetotalers”– may do well to head for Utah….

Don Newbury

Utah legislators admit that their intent is to eliminate ALL driving while drinking. They believe their constituents agree. Decades ago, Utah was first to lower the limit to 0.08 percent.

Officials in several states have discussed the possibility of lowering DUI alcohol blood level percentages to 0.05, like Utah, and four states put it to vote.

The measure was voted down in Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, and New York….


   Here’s a final word about Mormons, who, over the long haul, have dug in their heels over most church doctrine.

This year, however, they adopted a new schedule for Sunday services, yielding to our “hurry up” culture. Henceforth, their Sunday services–worldwide–will be scheduled for two hours, not three.

In so doing, Mormon worship times will be in line with most US mainline denominations….


   Researching Mormon beliefs, I learned that devout members are opposed to alcohol, as well as hot drinks. One source indicated that it is acceptable to drink iced tea or iced coffee. (I may be requested to check additional sources.)

Years ago, I addressed an audience of about 250 Colorado bankers at a remote camp. The caterer arrived at about the same time I did and hustled to get ready to serve.

She had no helpers, so I joined several bankers in dispensing food and pouring coffee. One banker, a Mormon, refilled coffee cups throughout the banquet hall. “If it gets out at the church back home that I promoted coffee-drinking, I’ll be in trouble,” he said….


   Meanwhile Baylor University faithful are offering strong “AMENS” for their second-year head football coach, Matt Rhule. He suffered through a 1-11 season last year when he vowed that his Bears would be in a bowl game in 2018.

And he made good. BU managed a 6-6 regular season record and then upset Vanderbilt in Houston’s Texas Bowl, 45-38.

Jubilant BU players “fumbled” the Gatorade cooler when dousing their coach. The vessel bonked him upside the head. He claimed the “injury” didn’t warrant concussion protocol….


   Anybody else “up to here” with football bowl games? We’ve had a spate of them, with 40+ post-season games since mid-December. At some of them, television camera operators tried to avoid showing the grandstands, where there were far more “no shows” than “shows.”

Most reports of bowl games this year did NOT reveal actual attendance.

This reminds me of a situation decades ago at Texas Tech University, when football attendance was miserable. They left a couple of seats vacant between fans, hoping their “spread out” pattern would look something like “sold out” on TV sets….


      Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments/inquiries to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.comTwitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.

Don Newbury is the author of the humorous and inspirational When the Porch Light’s On. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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