SALT LAKE CITY – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs this holiday season will not be tolerated, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. “National Impaired Driving Prevention Month” is here, and highway patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said the focus is on urging people to not drive if they have had a little too much holiday cheer – for everyone’s sake.
“If you want go out and have a good time during the holiday season, go ahead and do so. However, make sure that you have arrangements to get home safely,” Royce said.
Statistics from the Utah Department of Public Safety show 39 impaired-driving-related traffic deaths in the state in 2011, and more than 12,000 DUI arrests last year.
Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) reports that up to 20 percent of car crashes in the U.S. may have been caused by people driving under the influence of drugs. Royce said drugged driving continues to be a problem in Utah.
“Drug impairment in the state of Utah is a concern of ours – always has been. When you see a DUI or alcohol-impaired driver and a drug-impaired driver, the dangers are the same,” he said.
A first-time DUI offense can carry penalties that include driver’s license suspension of up to 18 months, jail time, fines and vehicle impoundment, Royce warned.