Troopers add patrols to stop drunken driving during holiday weekend

Published: Friday, Aug. 31 2012 7:00 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Highway Patrol troopers are planning to work nearly 200 overtime shifts statewide during Labor Day Weekend to keep drunken drivers off the road.

Utilizing a $5,000 donation from The New Car Dealers of Utah's Good Wheels foundation, troopers will spend extra time on the roads enforcing safety.

"We're able to put about 20 more troopers in overtime shifts on the weekend," UHP Trooper Dwayne Baird said. "So it's a huge benefit for us"

The UHP has established five rules for staying safe on the road: do not drive under the influence, do not speed, do not drive drowsy, pay attention and always wear a seat belt.

"We do it on almost every holiday," Baird said. "We'll do it Easter weekend. We do it, of course, New Year's Eve, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, whenever we have a big holiday."

Several other police agencies will also be adding extra patrols.

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety 39 people were killed in drunken driving-related collisions in 2011. 

The city of South Salt Lake will be conducting a DUI blitz on Saturday, the South Salt Lake Coalition for Drug Free Youth is paying the wages of the officers doing the blitz.

"All of the members of the South Salt Lake Police Traffic and Motor Squad, so there will be eight of us, will be out in force doing a DUI saturation," South Salt Lake Police Sgt. Brittan Heddlesten said. "It will just be extra man power on the street and we'll be out working a zero enforcement campaign for any impaired driver. Whether that be drugs, alcohol, prescriptions, anything like that."

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