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Media Alert

Press Release

Protecting Utah

Increased Impaired Driving Enforcement Happening in December

Monday December 14, 2020


For Immediate Release

Increased Impaired Driving Enforcement Happening in December 

Increased DUI shifts aimed at preventing impaired driving this holiday season

WHAT: Media are invited to interview Colonel Rapich and Lieutenant Street as they discuss enforcement efforts happening this holiday season. Utahns can expect to see an increase in statewide DUI enforcement from December 16th until January first.  This enforcement focuses on the dangers of impaired driving, making the right choice, and the “Ugly Sweater” campaign which highlights the ugly consequences of choosing to drive impaired.

The Utah Department of Public Safety is emphasizing the importance of making the right choice when it comes to drinking and driving, as well as the moral and legal consequences of choosing to drive impaired. During this time, over 144 extra DUI shifts are being worked by over 20 different Utah law enforcement agencies. The enforcement period is strategically planned during the holiday season.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at 10:00 am 

WHERE: The media availability will be held virtually. Please contact the PIO for login information.

WHO: 

  • Colonel Michael Rapich, Deputy Commissioner, Utah Highway Patrol 
  • Lieutenant Nick Street, Utah Highway Patrol
  • Trooper Mikki Vargas, Utah Highway Patrol (Spanish speaker)

VISUALS: Contact PIO for access to media toolkit

  • Ugly Sweater campaign materials
  • NHTSA press event recording

MEDIA CONTACT:

Lt. Nick Street 

DPS/UHP – PIO

nstreet@utah.gov

801.554.5659


Key Information and Messages


Holiday Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign

2020 Key Information & Message

Background:

The Utah Department of Public Safety is hosting a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign to encourage Utahns to “avoid an ugly holiday” by never driving impaired. This campaign includes enforcement and education. 

  • Enforcement: Utahns can expect to see an increase in DUI enforcement from December 16th – January 1st. During this time over 154 extra DUI shifts are being worked by over 21 different Utah law enforcement agencies. The enforcement period is strategically planned during the holiday season. 
  • Education: Research performed by the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) discovered the number one reason why Utahns risk driving impaired is due to overconfidence in sobriety. To help Utahns avoid an ugly holiday, DPS is hosting an “Ugly Sweater” campaign. This educational campaign reminds Utahns about the consequences of failing to plan for a safe and sober ride.  

Overconfidence in sobriety is the number one reason Utahns risk driving drunk. If you plan to drink, make the right choice, and plan for a safe and sober ride to avoid the potential consequences of driving impaired.

Drunk driving crashes are 100 percent preventable if individuals act responsibly… Utahns can designate a sober driver, call a cab or a sober friend, or call rideshare. It’s never okay to drink and drive.

If alcohol is part of your holiday festivities – whether at a friend’s home or a restaurant or a bar – make sure you plan a safe and sober ride. 

Remember, no excuse/justification/rationalization is worth your life or the lives of others – If you choose to drink, please don’t drive. 

Promise today to (1) never drink and drive and (2) to stop friends or family from driving impaired. 

If you see a drunk driver on the road call 911. Some of the signs of drunk driving are: 

  • Drifting during a turn or curve
  • Inattentiveness to surroundings
  • Swerving or weaving across lanes 
  • Stopping too far, too short, too jerky, and having a slow response at traffic signals
  • Driving without headlights on at night
  • Varying speed or driving too slow (approximately 10+ mph under the speed limit)

(Source: NHTSA DWI Detection Guide)

The Statistics: 

  • In SFY 2020, there were 10,532 DUI arrests in Utah, that’s an average of 29 arrests per day. 
  • In 2019, there were 27 alcohol-related fatalities on Utah roads.
  • Between 2016-2019, 17% of all traffic fatalities in Utah were alcohol-related. 
  • As of today,  2020 has seen 28 alcohol-related fatalities.
    • 234 total fatal crashes, 25 were alcohol-related crashes. 
    • 1,854 total alcohol-related crashes.
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that the average drunk driver will risk driving drunk more than 80 times before his/her first arrest. 
  • In Utah, overconfidence in sobriety is a top reason a driver risks getting behind the wheel after drinking.
  • Over the past 10 years, drivers between the ages of 21-39 had the highest number of drunk drivers in fatal crashes with 72 percent of the DUI driving arrestees being male.

2019 Annual Stats:

Total Fatal crashes: 237

Deaths: 248

Alcohol-related fatal crashes: 26

Alcohol-related fatalities: 27

2019 December Stats: 

Fatal crashes: 19

Total Fatalities: 22

Alcohol-related crashes: 4

Alcohol-related fatalities: 4

Year-To-Date 2020 Stats (as of 12/14/2020):
Total Fatal Crashes:247

Deaths: 266
Alcohol-related crashes: 25
Alcohol-related deaths: 28

Encourage everyone to plan for a safe ride home 

  • We want to remind everyone to make sure their plans always include a safe and sober ride home — If you choose to drink, please don’t drive
  • We want everyone to have a great time, but to celebrate safely
  • Not only will we be participating in the national campaign this weekend, but our DUI squad will be working every weekend
  • We’re telling everyone ahead of time that we’re increasing enforcement and actively looking for drunk drivers with the hope that this will help prevent people from choosing to get behind the wheel after drinking
  • There are so many ways for people to get a safe and sober ride home 
    • Designate a sober driver, call a cab, take public transit, get an Uber or Lyft
  • A lot of these choices are literally in the palm of your hand – just using your smartphone, you can get a ride share or find a cab company’s phone number. Or call or text a sober friend or family member.
  • We encourage everyone to make plans for a safe ride home before they go out – once you start drinking, your judgment is impaired and many people think they’re still safe to drive when they’re not.

All of the consequences of DUI can be prevented

  • Drinking and driving has so many negative consequences
    • You get arrested
    • Car gets impounded
    • Driver license gets suspended
    • Lose your job or it can be a barrier to future employment
    • Face fines and fees running into thousands of dollars
    • If you get into a crash, you could injure or kill an innocent person
  • None of this ever has to happen – every instance of drinking and driving is 100% preventable

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MEDIA CONTACT

Nick Street
DPS Public Affairs Director
Department of Public Safety
NSTREET@UTAH.GOV

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