To combat the often deadly problem of drunk driving, rangers at Zion National Park today announced the continuation of an intensive and sustained crackdown on all who drive drunk in the park.
“We’re expanding DUI checkpoints and patrols to help ensure a safe visit for the over 2.7 million people who each year come here to enjoy Zion,” said Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth.
The park will conduct several waves of “High Visibility Enforcement” to combat drunk driving. Enforcement activities will include sobriety checkpoints and saturation enforcement patrols on many of the park’s roads. Rangers at Zion will also be partnering with Utah Highway Patrol on some of the enforcement activities. In addition to this Labor Day Weekend, high visibility patrols are planned for late October, around Halloween and hunting season. Regular enforcement efforts will continue to occur throughout the year.
“The absolute intention of our intensified enforcement campaign is deterrence. We’re much more interested in preventing drunks from getting behind the wheel than in writing tickets,” said Whitworth.
Though the vast majority of the park’s visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience, the consumption of alcohol has resulted in problems through the years. This has included incidents of public intoxication, disorderly conduct and drunk driving.
In 2008 alone, there were 11,773 alcohol-impaired fatalities on U.S. roadways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About 32 percent of the 37,261 deaths on the country’s roadways in 2008 involved a drunk driver. Throughout the U.S., including the country’s national parks, anyone driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is considered legally drunk.
Zion National Park rangers wish for all visitors to have an enjoyable Labor Day holiday weekend. This should include driving safe and sober or appointing a designated driver for those who have over indulged.