SOUTHERN UTAH – If you don’t want to start the 2014 in Purgatory, as in correctional facility, then make sure you do not drink and drive this New Year’s Eve. That is the advice of local law enforcement officials in Southern Utah.
Although no DUI checkpoints are planned, the Utah Highway Patrol is planning a statewide blitz which will include having more officers patrolling for impaired drivers on state roadways.
The UHP will be out in force in Washington and Kane counties looking for impaired drivers on the highways they patrol, Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Shawn Hinton said.
“Don’t drink and drive; if you are going to drink, make sure you have a designated driver and if you don’t then make plans to stay where you are,” he said.
According to a report made in 2012 by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, in 2012 there were 374 DUI arrests in Washington County; 238 in Iron County and 62 in Kane County. Statewide in 2011 there were 39 alcohol related traffic fatalities, all of which may have been avoided by driving sober.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions includes getting out of debt, then you do not want to start the year with a DUI arrest. It is estimated that an arrest can cost you about $10,000 in fines and fees, not counting the increased insurance costs, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.
“We always do some directed patrols on holidays and we will be focusing on impaired driving on New Year’s,” Washington City Police spokesman Ed Kantor said.
If you are going to party and drink, make arrangements for a cab or a designated driver, drive defensively and use good common sense, he said.
“People think they can have one drink and be fine, but what they don’t realize is that your reaction time and judgment is impaired with that very first drink,” Kantor said.
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