Utah Highway Patrol added extra patrols to keep drunk drivers off the road

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of all things Irish but it makes for a potentially dangerous night on the roads according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

“Absolutely we’re going to have extra patrols,” Trooper Lawrence Hopper told ABC4 News Tuesday afternoon. “There’s going to be more officers out on the road specifically looking for DUIs.”

At the Green Pig Pub & Grill in Downtown Salt Lake City, they want to make sure their patrons all make it home.

“We pay attention to what people are drinking and how fast they’re drinking,” owner Bridget Gordon said. “So if we feel they’ve been here a little too long and stuff like that we always offer a cab or now you know you’ve got the Uber and all the things, pedicabs. There’s ways to get home, public transportation, you don’t need to get yourself in trouble or hurt or anybody else.”

Asked how she planned on getting home, Green Pig patron Megan Birrenkott said, “Uber. I’m sorry it is a shameless advertisement, I’m sorry. Uber.”

Last year, UHP troopers made over a thousand DUI arrests in the month of March during what turned out to be a very deadly year in in Utah. DUI crashes killed 42 people in 2014, a huge jump up from 23 the year before. Overall auto fatalities claimed 256 people statewide, up from 220 in 2013. Trooper Lawrence Hopper suggests thinking about the risks before heading home.

“A DUI stays with you for at least 10 years as far as on your record, on your driver’s license record,” Trooper Hopper said. “It’s about $10,000 from start to finish as far as fines go, tow fees, insurance will go up because of it so it’s just not worth risking not only the money or the time but the safety of yourself and the safety of others, it’s just not worth getting behind the wheel and taking that chance.”

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