SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The numbers are in. Utah Highway Patrol arrested fewer drunk drivers this year than they did during last year’s New Year’s celebration. While those numbers may be encouraging, Utah Highway Patrol still has some concerns regarding the numbers.
In all, 2,895 people were pulled over from Thursday through Sunday during the New Year holiday. It appears Utahns are getting the message, don’t drink and drive and risk your life or someone else’s. Utah Highway Patrol arrested 19 fewer drivers than they did last year.
“We had 53 DUI arrests, which was down a little bit from last year. Last year we had 72 arrests,” said Sgt. Todd Royce with the Utah Highway Patrol.
While those numbers are encouraging, it wasn’t all good news. Utah’s roads were the scene of three deadly car crashes over the weekend. But, until toxicology reports come in, UHP can’t be for sure if those deaths were related to alcohol.
“We had three fatalities. Anytime we have fatalities it’s a sad situation, it’s tragic that people have lost their lives, however, if more people were driving impaired then we know that statistic would be dramatically higher,” says Royce, “To say this weekend was a success is not the case, to say this weekend could have been worse, that’s always a case but we can do better.”
Troopers reported seeing more designated drivers on the roads during the holiday, a reassuring sign that their efforts to keep drunk drivers off the road are working. Even as 2015 continued the trend of increasing DUI-related deaths. They’re also concerned about driving safety as hundreds of citations were given out for the most basic driving practices.
“1,500 people were stopped for speed over the weekend, over 400 people were stopped for seat belts. Of the 159 crashes that we had over New Year’s, some of those have a weather factor but once again it’s driver behavior,” said Royce.
Now UHP is trying to improve their education efforts to hopefully see less violators in 2016.