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Troopers, police step up DUI patrols for Halloween weekend

By Nicole Gonzales | Posted - Oct. 26, 2010 at 10:22 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah law enforcement agencies' list of big drinking holidays has grown over the years. Now, Halloween is probably number one.

"It's up there at the very top. We see more arrests for impaired drivers on Halloween than just about any other night of the year," says Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Robert Anderson.

This one will be no exception, especially since it falls on Sunday. That leaves Friday and Saturday open as potential party nights as well.

UHP troopers say they will blanket the whole state with patrols focused only on catching impaired drivers.

"We have a statewide program with the Department of Public Safety. We are gonna be out all over the state, not just Salt Lake; it will be everywhere throughout the state," Anderson says.

The UHP will not be doing any formal checkpoints. Instead troopers will use DUI blitzes, meaning more troopers out than usual.

It's the same for Unified Police Department. Its officers will be looking for drivers in Salt Lake County who weren't wise enough to take a cab or find a designated driver.

"It really is just a focus; and this is a serious problem," says Unified police Lt. Don Hutson. "Even though we don't have as serious of a problem as some places, we don't want to take a chance that it may get out of hand if we don't pay attention to it."

There are a few police departments that will also be doing checkpoints. Centerville and American Fork will do theirs on Friday night into Saturday morning. Lehi will also do one, although police there haven't released details.

Mostly, officers say they just want drinkers to stay off the roads.

"Don't get in your cars. Don't drive impaired, because chances are you are going to meet a trooper that night and you are going to jail," Anderson says.

Last year, Utah had the lowest number DUI fatal crashes in the nation. Law enforcement officers want to keep it that way this weekend and the rest of the holiday season.

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com

Nicole Gonzales

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