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St. Patrick's Day DUI arrests declined this year, police say

Published: Tuesday, March 18 2014 10:11 p.m. MDT

WEST VALLEY CITY — A task force of three police agencies teamed up over St. Patrick's Day weekend to crack down on intoxicated driving.

Last weekend, the Utah Highway Patrol arrested 63 drivers statewide for driving under the influence — 15 percent fewer arrests than last year.

"There appears to be more designated drivers than last year, which is greatly appreciated," West Valley Police Sgt. Blair Barfuss said.

Overall, UHP troopers wrote 43 citations for non-DUI alcohol violations; made 3,662 traffic stops, 1,527 of which were for speeding; and investigated 135 crashes, two of which were fatal. No fatalities occurred from intoxicated driving.

West Valley and South Salt Lake police departments also participated in the task force from 9 p.m. Monday through 3 a.m. Tuesday. Six DUI arrests were made in those precincts.

Barfuss believes drunk driving awareness campaigns have contributed to safer driving practices.

"There have been a number of campaigns through UHP and other groups that have really hit the media hard, and it seems those messages are being more influential on holidays and events where alcohol is consumed," he said.

St. Patrick's Day falling on a Monday was also a factor in fewer intoxicated motorists on the road, Barfuss said.

— Morgan Jacobsen

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