ROAD TO ZERO

Utah officers working overtime through December to stop DUI

Dec 14, 2022, 3:15 PM | Updated: 3:52 pm

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Officers from more than 25 law enforcement agencies across the state will work more than 230 extra DUI shifts through the end of the year to protect Utahns from impaired drivers.

The Utah Highway Safety Office reported 818 alcohol-related crashes so far in 2022.

Of the 312 fatalities reported this year, more than a third involved a drug or alcohol-impaired driver the office said.

The holidays are the worst part of the year for suspected DUI stops.

“There’s a general rule you get about .02 of blood alcohol per drink, shot, glass of beer or glass of wine,” Matt Slawson the chief forensic toxicologist at the Utah Department of Health & Human Services Public Health Laboratory said.

Slawson said having several alcoholic drinks quickly will spike your blood alcohol level. Spreading them out over a period of time will keep your alcohol level lower over a longer period.

“Any amount is not safe,” Jared Cornia, Utah Highway Patrol Drug Recognition Expert said.

The majority of reported DUIs are .14, almost three times the legal limit of .05.

In 2021, the Highway Safety Office reported the most common substances found in DUI arrests were alcohol, THC/marijuana, stimulants, opioids, and sedatives. 

Cornia said there are signs that can indicate a driver is impaired.

“Lane travel. Speed. Inability to stop at the right place when you’re coming up to a stop sign or a stop light. Tailgating,” Cornia listed.

“If you’re going to drink alcohol that’s totally fine. Go ahead and drink and have fun at your holiday parties,” Cornia said. “That’s what we want. But we want to separate that drinking from the task of driving.”

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Utah officers working overtime through December to stop DUI