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Utah sees jump in DUIs, traffic stops, speeding and mussel violations on July 4 weekend

Utah Highway Patrol vehicles in Salt Lake City are pictured on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. UHP reported nearly 4,000 stops over the holiday weekend.

Utah Highway Patrol vehicles in Salt Lake City are pictured on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. UHP reported nearly 4,000 stops over the holiday weekend. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Highway Patrol reported a 44% increase in traffic stops during the July 4 weekend from the holiday a year ago, including a jump in DUI arrests.

The agency reported that it handled 3,926 stops from Friday through Monday, which is an increase from 2,728 stops in 2020. Troopers made 71 DUI arrests over the three days, which is an increase from 46 last year. The agency also reported 2,004 speeding stops, including 78 driving at least 100 mph. In addition, they reported 161 seat belt citations and 92 reckless driving calls.

In all, there were 163 crashes and one death over the holiday weekend. Five of the crashes were alcohol-related. There were 126 crashes and one death last year, according to UHP.

"We are almost half way through 100 deadliest days in Utah, please continue to wear your seatbelt and slow down!" the agency tweeted.

Zero Fatalities reports there have been 29,853 crashes and 151 deaths on Utah roads in 2021, as of Tuesday. That's up from 23,177 crashes and 119 deaths up to the same point last year.

DWR cites 119 boaters for quagga mussel violations

Meanwhile, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reported Tuesday that they cited 119 boaters for quagga mussel-related violations over the three-day weekend. That's up from 55 reported after the July 4 weekend last year. The number of boats inspected and decontaminated did drop, though.

In all, the agency reported 19,025 boat inspections and 381 decontaminations. That's down from 20,886 inspections and 441 decontaminations during the holiday last year, according to state conservation officers.

Seventy-seven of the 119 citations were issued at Lake Powell, which is where invasive and pesky quagga mussels are located in the state. Most of the citations were tied to boaters failing to complete a mandatory education course and fee payment that went into law last year, DWR officials said.

Quagga mussels are tied to serious ecological and water infrastructure issues. The state inspects boats because species commonly spreads from waterbody to waterbody through the vessels.

"Our goal is to stop the spread of invasive mussels in order to protect Utah's waters so they remain accessible to the public and continue to provide incredible recreational opportunities for everyone," said Sgt. Krystal Tucker with DWR's aquatic invasive species department.

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