UHP releases Memorial Day weekend DUI stats

Posted at 10:03 PM, May 27, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- A woman killed during a car crash along Interstate 215 Monday afternoon marks the second fatality since the start of what law enforcement calls the 100 deadliest days of summer.

The 100 deadliest days of summer started Memorial Day weekend and ends on Labor Day. Between then and now, Utah Highway Patrol says an average of 96 people will die in Utah.

It's been four days and already two Utahns have been killed.

UHP has been trying their best to reach their goal of zero fatalities by beefing up enforcement. Friday night, there was a statewide DUI Blitz and Fox 13 got to ride along.

"Specifically we're looking for the five indicators that cause deaths in Utah, from drivers -- speeding, distracted driving, drowsy, drunk driving and people who are not wearing their seatbelts," said Superintendent Danny Fuhr for UHP.

Their goal during Memorial Day weekend was to stop drunk drivers from hitting the roads.

Less than 15 minutes into the ride along, a man is arrested, suspected of DUI.

It doesn't take long for another driver to be pulled over. After being asked to walk a straight line and balance on one leg, he too is put in handcuffs and into the back of a police cruiser.

Newly released numbers show police arrested 56 Utahns for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and another 43 alcohol related arrests were made.

They pulled over nearly 7,000 drivers. More than 3,700 offenders were going way too fast, and 353 Utahns were warned or ticketed for not wearing seatbelts.

"With the extra days off during the holidays there's more drinking and driving and that causes fatalities," said Lt. Jeff Nigbur with UHP.

There were 250 extra state troopers on Utah's roadways this weekend but it still wasn't enough to reach their goal of zero fatalities.

"I'd like to say it was a successful one but unfortunately we had one fatality over the weekend," Nigbur said.

There was another Monday afternoon when a woman was killed during a rollover crash along I-215. Law enforcement says most deadly accidents can be prevented.

"Just pay attention to driving is the number one thing. drive safe, go the speed limit, pay attention, don't drink and drive, wear your seatbelt, half of those who actually died, died because they weren't wearing their seatbelts so if we can get people to wear their seatbelts, you can imagine the numbers would go down," Nigbur said.

UHP believes half of all deadly accidents could have been prevented if drivers had been wearing their seatbelts.