SALT LAKE COUNTY (ABC 4 News) – While many Utahns spent Sunday evening watching the Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl 53, troopers with Utah Highway Patrol worked extra shifts to increase DUI patrols and keep impaired drivers off the street.
“When you get an impaired driver off the road, it makes you feel good because you know you potentially saved someone’s life,” said Sgt. Nick Swallow. “That’s why I’m very passionate about DUI enforcement and arresting impaired drivers.”
Officers throughout the state have over 45 extra DUI shifts to help make sure everyone enjoys the #SuperBowl safely.
Make sure your game plans include a safe and sober ride home! pic.twitter.com/QqW8iiLkig— Utah Public Safety (@UtahDPS) February 1, 2019
According to the Utah Department of Safety, the state averaged 8.1 crashes on Super Bowl Sunday over the last 10 years, which is 60 percent higher than any other day in February.
ABC 4 News joined Sgt. Swallow for a ride-along Sunday night, where he shared why busting impaired drivers was not just part of his job description, it was something that hit close to home.
“When I was kid, my family was impacted by a drunk driver. So when I came to the Utah Highway Patrol, it felt like something I could do to make a difference,” said Sgt. Swallow.
He said in 2017, troopers arrested 10,766 impaired drivers, which averages to approximately 30 arrests per day – a number that he says is too high with all the options that are now available.
“Find a ride, call an Uber, call a taxi, or stay the night. Don’t risk it, it’s not worth it to drive after you’ve been drinking,” Sgt. Swallow said. “Just remember that we’re not out trying to enforce a .08 or a .05 now. We’re out there looking for impaired drivers, period. Your best bet is to avoid driving if you’ve been drinking.”