‘Leprechaun’ campaign discourages drinking and driving

Posted at 4:59 PM, Mar 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-16 01:40:13-04

SALT LAKE CITY - DUI checkpoints have already begun in Northern Utah as the St. Patrick’s Day weekend begins. Seventeen Salt Lake Valley bars have also teamed up with law enforcement to do their part to prevent drug driving.

Inside more than a dozen bars, miniature leprechauns are on display, warning patrons to not drive drunk. One of them says, “bottoms up but car keys down.”

At Lumpy's Downtown, servers are wearing green shirts with the acronym "LADD," which stands for "leprechauns against drunk driving."

"Why not," said general manager Jacob Torres. "We want to make sure they have a great experience downtown, come back and do it again so they don't spend the night with a DUI, spend thousands of dollars for no reason. We can help them get into a cab."

"I think it's a good campaign," said Piper Down patron William Jenkins.

William and Angela Avila added, "It's a holiday where people are going to drink. That's a fact."

The Utah Highway Patrol is very aware of that and says drunk driving has been an issue on St. Patty’s weekend. This time last year, Utah cops arrested 70 people for DUI statewide and there were 34 alcohol-related crashes, all on the St. Patrick's Day weekend.

"It's very preventable, people don't have to crash and die, they just need to be smart,” said UHP Sgt. Michael Irvine.

Utah troopers and local cops have received federal and state dollars to work overtime, patrolling for drunk drivers and setting up checkpoints.

"You need to drink responsibly and if you've got to hand someone your keys to drive home, then you need to do that," said Jenkins.

William and Angela Avila are not partying at a bar on St. Patrick's Day...they're spending the night at a friend's house.

"We're already taken care of when it comes to designated drivers," said Angela Avila.

The Utah Highway Patrol also recommends that if someone with you is drunk, take their keys away and if you see someone driving drunk, call 911.

"Piper Down actually has their own driving service. We have a team of drivers that will drive you and your car to your house if you've had too much to drink and drive safely," Piper Down owner David Morris.

Other bars and law firms also offer cab services. You may want to give them a call before heading out and drinking this weekend.