ST. GEORGE – Utah and Nevada highway patrols will be cruising Interstate 15 and state roads Labor Day weekend in order to promote safe and sober driving, and they’re getting a little help in these endeavors from the American Automobile Association.
The Utah Highway Patrol will be running 340 extra shifts during the weekend to focus on unsafe driving, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety’s website.
“Troopers will be working day and night throughout the state with one goal: to help everyone get where they’re going safely,” the website states.
The daytime shifts will focus on violations of speed, seat belt use, distracted driving and aggressive driving. Evening and night shifts will focus on drunk and otherwise impaired driving.
The UHP, along with 34 other law agencies across the state, has been increasing its DUI enforcement since Aug. 17, according to the Utah DPS website. This will continue through Sept. 3.
“Drunk driving crashes are 100 percent preventable if individuals act responsibly,” Utah DPS officials said in a press release. “The responsible choice is to plan for a safe and sober ride home. Utahns can designate a sober driver, call a cab or a sober friend, or get a rideshare. It’s never okay to drink and drive.”
According to Utah DPS, there were 10,766 arrests for DUI in Utah in 2017, an average of 29.5 arrests per day.
On average in Utah, 33 people die each year due to an individuals’ choice to drive impaired.
For drivers who feel they’ve had one too many drinks, AAA is offering a helping hand to get them home with the “Labor Day Tipsy Tow” service. Available to any driver – not just AAA members — the service will be available statewide from 6 p.m. Monday through 6 a.m. Tuesday, offering a free ride home and vehicle tow of up to 10 miles. For mileage beyond that, motorists are charged a standard towing rate.
“As Utahns enjoy summer’s last hurrah, AAA wants to discourage anyone from getting behind the wheel if they are intoxicated,” said Michael Blasky, spokesman for AAA Utah. “Tipsy Tow provides a simple solution for getting motorists home safely while making the roads safer for everyone.”
To use the service, drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders, restaurant managers or anyone who wants to ensure a safe ride home for an intoxicated motorist should call 1-800-222-4357 during the service period and state that they need a Tipsy Tow.
Services will not be provided to motorists requesting a tow to another drinking establishment, repair facility or any other location other than their home or a hotel if the motorist is, or plans to become, a guest. Other services not covered include requests to start a vehicle, flat tire change, gas delivery, “taxi” service and requests to transport more than two people with the vehicle.
AAA estimates that a first-time DUI conviction can cost a motorist more than $10,000 in fines, penalties, legal fees and increased insurance costs.
Heading south? The same applies
The Nevada Highway Patrol has also stepped up its presence on the highway as a part of a statewide campaign that started Aug. 25 and will carry through Sept. 10.
“Labor Day is one of the busiest days for travel and alcohol consumption, especially here in southern Nevada,” NHP Trooper Jason Buratczukhe said in a press release. “Nevada Highway Patrol will have additional Troopers on the road during the Labor Day Holiday. If you drink, don’t drive. Enjoy the holiday responsibly”
Due to the increased presence of law enforcement on the highway and state roads, motorists are advised to “move over” when they spot police or other emergency response vehicles on the side of the highway.
“When you see emergency vehicles on the road shoulder, move over a lane to help give them the room they need to safely work,” the Utah DPS website states.
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