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Safety advocates urge caution this holiday weekend

By Sarah Dallof | Posted - Sep. 4, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- As families head outdoors this Labor Day weekend, advocates are urging safety on and off the roads.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers got a head start Friday night -- working overtime by cruising the roads looking for drunk drivers.


Every day, 44 individuals are arrested for DUI driving in Utah. Forty-four. That's only one percent of those who are driving impaired.

–UHP Col. Daniel Fuhr


"Every day, 44 individuals are arrested for DUI driving in Utah. Forty-four," says UHP Col. Daniel Fuhr. "That's only one percent of those who are driving impaired."

Holiday weekends are often where officials focus their enforcement. This weekend, both UHP and the Unified Police Department set up checkpoints.

Between 10 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, a team of 35 troopers netted 25 drivers operating under the influence. Unified police officers arrested six, while in addition citing dozens of drivers for traffic-related violations like expired registration and lack of insurance.

Good Wheels, the charitable organization of the Utah New Car Dealers Association, donated $5,000 to help cover some of the troopers' overtime shifts
Good Wheels, the charitable organization of the Utah New Car Dealers Association, donated $5,000 to help cover some of the troopers' overtime shifts

Advocates say the blitzes work.

"For every ten you arrest, seven you don't see again," says Art Brown with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "You cuff them, you haul their car away, they don't show up in the system again."

Good Wheels, the charitable organization of the Utah New Car Dealers Association, donated $5,000 to help cover some of the overtime shifts. The association has been donating funds for troopers' extra patrols for the past 10 years.

Meanwhile, outdoor safety advocates pushed a similar message. Utah County Safe Kids and the Utah County Health Department teamed up to educate families about picking the correctly sized ATV for kids, as well as safety gear for children and adults.


A lot of it is being smart, understanding the choices we make do have consequences.

–A.J. Ferguson


"I had kid-sized helmet because I thought I had a small head," says 19-year-old Josett Maughan. "They fitted me for a new helmet."

In the past five years, there have been 60 deaths due to ATV accidents. Thirty-five percent of those were kids.

"They can be prevented," says A.J. Ferguson, vice president of farm safety with the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. "A lot of it is being smart, understanding the choices we make do have consequences."

According to Utah law, if you're under the age of 18 you must wear a helmet. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids not drive until they are 16.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com

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