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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingFor those who plan to be out drinking on New Year's Eve, officers want to remind people to find a designated driver ahead of time. The state is not having a DUI blitz this year, but the highway patrol will still have extra officers looking for drunk drivers.
The Highway Patrol says they find drunk drivers everywhere on New Year's Ever, along freeways, along side roads and near clubs and bars. So they plan to be on the lookout for anyone drinking and driving.
Last year the Highway Patrol arrested 49 people for DUIs on New Year's. Unfortunately, the Highway Patrol doesn't have the money or the manpower to do its normal blitz this year. But they have special DUI squads that patrol large areas looking for erratic or suspicious drivers. In addition, the UHP is also asking for volunteer troopers to pick up extra shifts on New Year's Eve. They want to remind people to plan a safe way to get home.
Trooper Jeff Nigbur, Utah Highway Patrol: “Obviously it's New Year's, have fun and enjoy your friends, but obviously do it responsibly and get a designated driver, because we obviously will be out there looking for you if you're intoxicated."
Det. Robin Snyder, Salt Lake Police Department: “Every year we have additional patrol in the area of first night. We have several bike officers to patrol in the downtown area in case problems arise."
The Salt Lake police department says they don't usually see problems at First Night downtown, since it's family-oriented and alcohol-free, but officers will also be patrolling the streets downtown for drunk drivers.
In addition, the department uses civilians trained with the mobile neighborhood watch program to watch for DUIs and call them in.
Earlier this fall, the UHP did a DUI blitz and kept track of designated drivers; they found 57. They say they hope that trend continues.