A special team of deputies schooled in drug recognition will be working the streets during the holiday season to identify drivers who abuse drugs or alcohol while driving, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Pete Hayward.
In an effort to keep drinkers from driving, the sheriff's office is encouraging anyone who observes suspected drunken drivers to contact them or the appropriate agency to report the location of the driver, the description of the vehicle and the physical description of the driver.According to a release from Hayward, 82 of the 297 deaths on Utah's highways during 1987 were alcohol-related. About 44,000 people die each year while driving in the United States, and alcohol is a factor in at least half of those deaths.
In Utah, a driver is considered to be under the influence at 0.08 percent alcohol level in the blood. Surveys show that the chances of a car accident increase 11/2 times at 0.05 percent, two times at 0.06 percent, seven times at 0.1 percent and 25 times at 0.15 percent.
The sheriff's office encourages those planning to drink during holiday parties to plan ahead by appointing a designated driver, calling a taxi or spending the night. Those who provide their guests with alcohol can also be held liable for injury caused by guests after the guests leave the residence or place of business.
There is no quick solution to sobering up fast, the release said. It won't help to take a cold shower, drink black coffee or walk out in the fresh air. Only time will help.