Forewarned is forearmed: DUI blitz is a success
The Utah Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies’ plan to conduct a statewide Labor Day weekend DUI crackdown was no surprise. In fact, the media campaign that preceded it was orchestrated by police and highway patrol officials. As a result, officers admit there were relatively few arrests.
So why is UHP calling it a success? Because people listened. They appointed designated drivers, took taxis and cut down on consumption. They watched out for each other, they quit driving when they had been partying and quit partying when they had to drive.
According to the UHP, that was the point — to make the roads safer, not to write tickets or fill jail cells.
It was a refreshing, enlightened approach to what has often proven to be the most dangerous weekend of the year on American highways. Newspapers, TV and radio stations all helped to spread the word that additional officers would be on patrol over the holiday weekend and that they would be on the lookout for drunk drivers.
Indeed, the reinforcements were very visible throughout Summit County. UHP, Summit County Sheriff’s and Park City Police Department officers made no effort to disguise their presence, which served as a potent reminder to watch one’s alcohol intake.
Whether prowling the bars on Main Street, jet skiing at Rockport Reservoir or attending family reunions in Weber Canyon, uniformed officers were there to provide a sober reminder about the hazards of drinking and driving.
Despite the crackdown there were five traffic-related fatalities over the weekend, but not all involved alcohol and there could have been more.
Utah citizens owe law enforcement a round of thanks for the way they handled drunk driving enforcement this weekend.
Many officers put in overtime hours while the rest of us were lounging and enjoying the summer’s final fling. Their emphasis was on prevention rather than punishment and it was effective.
Let’s keep that message in mind for the rest of the year.
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