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Committee passes bill that sets standards for commercial breathalyzers


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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that sets standards for breathalyzers provided to patrons in bars and clubs is on its way to the House floor.

Spelling out standards for commercial breathalyzers limits the guesswork for patrons who want to use them and businesses where they are available, said HB190 sponsor Rep. Gregory Hughes, R-Draper.

"The whole point of this is that if have a speed limit on the road, we want to know how fast we're going so that we're following the law, so we have a speedometer in our car," Hughes said. "Having devices on premise that would inform you and educate the patron as to where they're at, we think is a good thing. It will allow for people to make more informed choices when they're deciding when they've had enough and when they would operate a vehicle."

The bill unanimously passed Wednesday in the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.

Data collected by on-premise breathalyzers would be anonymous and could not be used to incriminate anyone, Hughes said. The bill also would not make bar or club owners responsible for the patrons who use them.

"We've worked hard to require anonymity on these," he said.

Breathalyzers would also be required to feature a sign explaining that the timing of how soon a test is taken after drinking can impact results.

Regarding maintenance, the bill stipulates that owners of vending machine style breathalyzers — whether they have been purchased by the bar or club that features them or provided by breathalyzer companies — would be responsible for calibrating the machines after every 300 uses or 30 days. Annual reports must then be submitted to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

"If we're going to have devices like this on premises, it makes sense to create some standards and some quality control measures in statutes since they're already in bars and clubs right now," Hughes said.

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McKenzie Romero

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