UHP troopers increasing patrols during the New Year’s holiday

LOGAN — Law enforcement is once again reminding motorists to avoid drinking and driving, as Utah’s new DUI law is in effect.    The law lowers the legal content of alcohol in the bloodstream from .08 percent to .05 percent, the lowest in the country.

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Perry said troopers will be working extra shifts during the New Year’s holiday.  They’ll be looking for drivers who appear to be impaired or driving recklessly.

“We ask people, if you are going to enjoy alcohol, don’t drink and drive,” explained Lee.  “Get an Uber, get a taxi, have a designated driver but don’t be out there driving on the roadways.  If you are, we are going to be out there and we hope that we stop you, and get you caught before you hurt yourself or someone else.”

Troopers won’t just be looking for DUI’s.  Lee explained that the weather and late hour can be trouble for other drivers that haven’t drank at all.

“The roads could be possibly icy and it is going to be extremely cold.  If you’re out late at night, you could be drowsy.  Tired drivers can be just as dangerous as drunk drivers or distracted drivers.”

Utah’s new DUI law was approved by the Legislature in 2017.  It later was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert.  It began Sunday morning, just ahead of the holiday.

Lee said even though there has been a lot of talk about the new law, it won’t really change how troopers patrol the roads.

“We have to do certain tests to determine whether we believe you’re impaired to unsafely drive a vehicle.  We do all of that long before we ever get to the .05.  Then we make the arrest, and then we go for the blood or the breath test, and that’s when this .05 is determined.  So, it’s going to be more impactful on the prosecution side than it is on the arrest side.”

Troopers are asking motorists to be on the lookout for dangerous behavior around them and call 911.  Some of the warning signs include motorists driving without their headlights on, making wide turns and going out of their lanes, and people that are going extremely slow.


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