SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – With Saint Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday night during the first weekend of NCAA‘s March Madness, Utah Highway Patrol is prepared to crack down on DUIs with a weekend blitz.

UHP announced on Friday morning 27 law enforcement agencies statewide will be working over 150 extra DUI enforcement shifts. UHP in particular will be conducting DUI blitzes in Salt Lake County, Davis County, Summit County, Tooele County, and Iron County. West Valley City PD and South Salt Lake PD will be lending their efforts to UHP in Salt Lake County.

There have been 152 alcohol-related crashes in Utah so far in 2023, three of which resulted in fatalities, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. On average over the last five years, Utah has had 920 alcohol-related crashes per year.

UHP said Saint Patrick’s Day continuously ranks as one of the most dangerous holidays for United States roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 280 people died in drunk driving crashes between 6 p.m. on March 16 to 5:59 a.m. on March 18 between 2015 and 2019.

As part of its blitz, UHP is asking the public the “party with a plan” by planning ahead to not drink and drive.

“If you choose to drink this St. Patrick’s Day, designate a sober, reliable driver to get you home safely home the party,” said Utah Highway Patrol DUI Squad Commander Lt. Brent Shelby. “If you’re planning on drinking, do not drive. Many people don’t understand that they pose a risk to themselves and others on the road before they even feel buzzed. Our Troopers and other law enforcement officers will be actively looking for and removing impaired drivers from our roads.”

UHP offered a few tips heading into Saint Patrick’s Day weekend in order to stay safe while still having a good time:

  • Plan Ahead: if you wait until you’ve been drinking to make a smart decision, you might not. Before you have one drink, designate a sober driver who won’t be drinking.
  • You have options: designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a rideshare service. Getting home safely is always worth it.
  • If it’s your turn to be the designated driver, take your job seriously, and don’t drink.
  • If you see a drunk drier on the road, call 911.