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Utah passes strictest drunk-driving laws in country; Wisconsin Tavern League opposes similar proposals

Drew Kelly

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The Wisconsin Tavern League is saying it would oppose any legislation brought forward that mimicked Utah’s new drunk-driving laws.

The new drunk driving limit there has been changed to .05 a change from the standard .08 limit across the country.

It is a proposal that’s been talked about in Wisconsin.

Pete Madland, with the Wisconsin Tavern League, said it wouldn’t be targeting the real trouble makers.

“The .05 person is not out there killing people,” Madland said. “The .05 person might be having an old fashioned with their fish fry or a couple glasses of wine.”

Madland points to a National Highway Traffic Safety administration study that says a person driving, who is 65 or older, is already equivalent to a .05.

“We better be nailing anyone over 65 years old,” he said. “We better be nailing anyone who is on their phones, which can put you at a .10 equivalency. Of course, no one has the stomach for that.”

Madland stressed that they aren’t pro drunk driving, and points to some of the preventative measures they’ve taken.

“Along with mandatory bartender training, we offer free rides home,” Madland said. “Last year, we gave out over 91,000 rides.

“I think people are becoming more comfortable with doing that. It’s not the macho thing anymore to get behind the wheel.”

Madland added that the real “problem drunk drivers” are usually operating at .15.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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