UHP troopers set to patrol across state for New Year’s DUI blitz

UHP troopers set to patrol across state for New Year’s DUI blitz

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SALT LAKE CITY — As Utahns prepare to celebrate the new year, Utah Highway Patrol troopers are readying themselves for a busy night.

UHP’s annual New Year’s Eve DUI blitz is just one way the state and city are trying to prevent drunk driving on the holiday.

Utah Transit Authority is also offering TRAX and FrontRunner services after midnight. Details on last departures can be found at UTA’s website.

Impaired driving not only endangers the driver’s life, but others on the road.

“It’s an easy choice, but it’s a horrible choice,” Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street told KSL NewsRadio. “The consequences can be life altering.”

At the start of 2019, Utah welcomed its new drunk driving law that made driving with 0.05 blood alcohol concentration illegal.

The first DUI arrest under the new law happened just hours after 2019 began.

Late on Monday, one man was killed in a Taylorsville car crash. Unified police suspect the driver was impaired with alcohol, according to a police report.

“We’ll have troopers throughout the state that will be out looking for impaired motorists, trying to get them off the road,” Street said. “There will be quite a few more than a regular Tuesday night.”

In Salt Lake City, at least 50 troopers will be working overtime shifts to patrol the blitz, “just trying to keep our roads safe tonight,” Street said. The blitz is slated to begin at 9 p.m. Tuesday night.

He noted that driving while on illicit or prescription drugs is also illegal, not just alcohol.

“If you use any type of impairing substance, getting behind the wheel should not be an option,” Street emphasized. “It’s never been easier to utilize public transportation, ride-sharing apps, good old taxis, and a designated driver. Those are all options besides getting behind the wheel impaired.”

Another way to keep impaired drivers off the roads is through encouraging loved ones to be safe. Simply telling them that they can wake you up late if they need a safe way home can make a big difference, Street advised.

Those planning on going out for New Year’s Eve should also keep weather in mind and dress warm.

A winter storm warning for all of northern Utah and the Wasatch Front will go into effect at 5 a.m. New Year’s Day, and it’s expected the storm will bring several inches of snow in the region’s valleys.

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Lauren Bennett is a reporter with KSL.com who covers Utah’s religious community and the growing tech sector in the Beehive State.


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