Highway patrol to launch New Year’s DUI blitz

DUI | Image by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH – Best have that designated driver ready if you’re hitting the Interstate New Year’s Eve, because the Utah Highway Patrol will be out in force.

“We are having a blitz tonight in Washington, Iron and Kane counties,” said UHP Lt. Shawn Hinton.

No checkpoints are being set up in the three counties. Instead, Hinton said drivers should expect to see the roads saturated with UHP units looking for intoxicated drivers.

It was announced in Salt Lake City Monday that $5,000 was donated to the UHP by the New Car Dealers of Utah “Good Wheels Program.” According to a statement from the UHP, funding will add an additional 20 DUI enforcement shifts which will help the UHP save lives this New Year’s holiday.

The “DUI blitz” will take place state-wide.

Last year Hinton offered some straight-forward tips to help individuals avoid becoming acquainted with the UHP:

  • “If you’re going to drink, don’t drive,” Hinton said.
  • Have a designated driver.
  • Give the keys of the car to a friend.
  • Plan not to be anywhere alcohol is served.
  • Make plans that do not involve the use of a vehicle.
  • Call a friend or a cab for a ride home if necessary.

Some DUI stats for 2011

According to Zero Fatalities, DUIs count as the third-highest cause of road-related deaths in Utah with 37 recorded incidents in 2011. The highest-ranked killer for the year was improper restraint with 72 recorded deaths, followed by speed-related fatalities at 57.

New Years Day and Labor Day are tied at the deadliest holiday-weekends for 2011 with four DUI-caused deaths each. In contrast the Thanksgiving holiday-weekend did not to experience a single fatality.

Fatalities by county: Iron County – 10; Kane County – 5; Washington County – 8. Salt Laky County experienced the highest rating at 62, followed by Weber and Utah counties with 20 and 18 deaths respectively. Daggett, Rich and Wayne counties reported no known DUI-related fatalities for the year.

It should be noted these statistics only count fatalities, and not injuries connected to such incidents.

Additional statistics for Utah can found on the Zero Fatalities website.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

DUI | Image by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

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