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SALT LAKE CITY — Even though the phrase "Don't Drink and Drive" has been around for decades, the Utah Highway Patrol said they still deal with DUIs every day, and they are especially vigilant on Halloween.
Trooper Nolan Kerr said he can prepare for his job all he wants — defensive driving, protective vest, prisoner cage — but when he's called to a fatal crash, not even the best preparation can make things any easier.
"When you have to go tell someone's family, you have to talk to their friends, their relatives, and explain what has happened to them, that part is the worst part of the job," Kerr said.
The cause of auto fatalities can vary from speeding to not wearing a seatbelt, but too often alcohol is involved. Kerr said that many times the person hurt wasn't the person drinking.
"It makes you pretty angry. If someone else has been hurt, especially someone innocent, or killed, it can be a really sad moment," Kerr said.
That's why he said he is a little worried on Halloween nights.
"I don't know what it is exactly about Halloween, but that's actually one of the worst holidays of them all for DUI's," Kerr said.
However, statistics show that after years of hearing the message to not drink and drive, people are finally listening.
On Halloween 2012, officers reported 11 DUIs, and the weekend before that night which included Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there were 34 DUIs. That put Halloween on average with a regular weekend night.
However, troopers said that the traffic volume in 2012 was notably higher on Halloween, so either there were more designated drivers or more people are deciding not to drink and drive.
Of course the goal is still zero DUIs, but recent numbers are encouraging to the UHP.
"Some days, you wonder if you're actually making a difference, but we are," Kerr said.
Officers are asking for the public to be smart when coming home from Halloween parties, especially if alcohol is part of your night.