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UHP warns people to not drink and drive during holiday weekend

By Shara Park | Posted - Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — With St. Patrick's Day on Sunday, the Utah Highway Patrol are warning people not to drink and drive during their holiday celebrations.

The UHP said that the St. Patrick's Day weekend is always a busy weekend filled with DUI arrests. In 2012, there were 70 DUI arrests throughout the state and 34 alcohol impaired accidents.

Lumpy's and many other sports bars plan to have big crowds during the holiday. Sgt. Michael Irvine said that it is fine to celebrate as long as people are responsible.

"If you drink, realize that you are impaired and you need to take that extra step, make that call," Irvine said. "It's one of these holidays that has increased the amount of DUI drivers because St. Patrick's Day is one of those times where people like to drink and drive."

The UHP will patrol the streets in large numbers starting Friday night through Sunday to look for impaired drivers. Funding has been provided for an 270 extra shifts for police officers. DUI check points will also be set up during the weekend at random locations.

"We're trying to catch these people before they hurt themselves or somebody else," Irvine said.

Over 24 bars in Utah are also teaming up with law enforcement to discourage drinking and driving by displaying green Leprechauns. UHP have also encouraged bar owners and employees to take the initiative to find a ride for impaired patrons.

"We're looking for them to take the initiative for them to say, 'Sir or Ma'am, you've had too much to drink tonight. Let's call somebody to get you tonight,' " Irvine said.

Law enforcement will saturate the highways and streets beginning at 9:00 p.m. Friday night.


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