WASHINGTON COUNTY — The Utah Highway Patrol DUI Squad, based out of Salt Lake City, hit stretches of Washington County highways Friday and Saturday evenings, targeting people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
During the DUI Squad’s routine visit, a total of 13 people were arrested for DUI — eight on Friday and five on Saturday, said UHP Lt. Brad Horne, who serves as commander for the UHP DUI Squad.
Of the arrests, the person who showed the highest inebriation was a man who blew a 0.083, which is a relatively low breath alcohol content and just barely over the threshold of illegality, Horne said, but the man had difficulty standing up and almost fell over several times during the field sobriety tests, he said.
In this case, drugs and/or medications were most likely ingested along with the alcohol, heightening the effects of alcohol, Horne said. If any medication or drugs are taken, even just the slightest bit of alcohol can tip someone into the danger zone much quicker because of the mixture of controlled substances.
The focus of the UHP DUI Squad is to reduce the numbers of intoxicated drivers for the safety of others on the road.
According to Utah State Legislature, under code 41-6a-502, a person may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle within Utah if the person has sufficient alcohol in their body that a subsequent chemical test shows the person has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or greater at the time of the test.
“We find DUIs absolutely everywhere,” Horne said. “What’s dangerous is anyone driving around drunk.”
The lower the number of arrests during a visit, the more successful Horne said the UHP DUI Squad feels.
Oftentimes, on a weekend visit, the number of DUI arrests reduces to half as many as the first night, Horne said. Part of this reduction is thanks to word of mouth and people knowing that there is extra patrol on the highways.
“The reduction is a signal of our success,” he said. “If we didn’t get a single DUI arrest we would be ecstatic.”
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