WASHINGTON COUNTY – Local law enforcement agencies have partnered in a new summer campaign to prevent crashes and injuries caused by impaired drivers. This new partnership is sponsored by the Utah Highway Safety Office and hosted by the local Utah Highway Patrol.
“Our message is this,” Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Hicks said, “if you plan to drink, choose a designated driver.”
In DUI crashes, 81 percent of people killed are the impaired drivers or their passengers, he said.
Drug impaired driving
Most people are unaware that they can be arrested for DUI when on drugs their doctor has prescribed to them.
“Drug-impaired driving – for both prescription and illegal drugs – is a growing problem in Utah,” Hicks said. “Law enforcement officers received specialized training to recognize drug impaired drivers, and drivers arrested for driving under the influence of drugs face the same penalties as drunk drivers.”
In 2012, there were 765 drug-impaired driver crashes in Utah, which resulted in 545 injured persons and 40 deaths.
The price tag
Oftentimes, an arrest is just the first of many consequences a person will face for driving under the influence.
Total costs for fines and fees are estimated to run in the neighborhood of $10,000, and that doesn’t include the increased insurance premiums that can result from a DUI arrest. First-time offenders in Utah can be required to get an ignition interlock device installed on all vehicles registered to them.
A DUI arrest can also cause some people to lose their jobs, and be a barrier to employment, too.
Participating law enforcement agencies include: Utah Highway Patrol, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Hurricane City Police Department, and Washington City Police Department.
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