Study: Utah ranks first in increased DUI drivers

Oct 30, 2023, 5:27 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2023, 4:33 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study ranks Utah as the number one state seeing a rise in impaired driving in the last few years.

From 2019 to 2022, a study found that Utah saw a 175% increase in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“It’s always alarming when we see an increase in DUIs and fatalities on Utah roads. DUI is absolutely a preventable issue, and it’s a choice that people make, and we need people to make the right choice ahead of time,” said Jason Mettmann, Communications Manager with Utah’s Department of Public Safety.

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But Utah law enforcement officials explain the study only focused on the spike from 2019 to 2022, and 2019 was a great year on our roads.

The change comes after the implementation of the new.05 blood alcohol content law, making the spike from 2019 to 2020 more drastic than any other state.

“2019 was a different year for us where we saw an exceptionally low number of fatalities that year, but when you take a bigger look at that picture and incorporate more data in it, the increase isn’t quite as much,” said Utah Highway Patrol’s Stg. Cameron Roden.

“We actually saw a 44% decrease in alcohol-related fatalities the following year, so people responded to the messaging that we put out and to the calls to action to drivers to simply drive sober,” Mettmann added.

While the study may be more than just the headline, what it does point out is that Utah drivers did make a collective positive change in road fatalities in the year 2019, and drivers need to get back to those behaviors.

“We need to separate the act of driving from the act of drinking, they need to be separate, and people need to plan ahead and get a sober ride home, and we need to bring those reminders back to let people know that it’s not okay to drink and drive,” Mettmann said.

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Study: Utah ranks first in increased DUI drivers