SALT LAKE CITY -- According to local law enforcement, Halloween has become an exceptionally fatal holiday when it comes to drunk drivers on Utah roads, and several agencies will be amping up efforts to catch drunken drivers and deter those who may consider driving while drunk.
The Utah Highway Patrol especially plan to crack down on impaired drivers.
“We focus on that on Halloween,” Sgt. Todd Royce of the Utah Highway Patrol said. “Halloween has become a big holiday for impaired driving.”
Utah Highway Patrol will have 160 extra officers on the roads Friday. In recent years, law enforcement officials have amped up their efforts, focusing on catching drivers under the influence.
“We do saturation shifts, so we are just going to put more troopers on the road where their main focus is going to be the impaired driver whether it be alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs,” Royce said.
UHP launched a zombies against drunk driving campaign a few years back. They bring it back from the dead each year to remind Utahns to drink responsibly.
“Publicity wise, you like people to look at it and listen to it and this was a clever way of getting people to not drink and drive,” Royce said.
According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal crashes involving a drunken driver occur three times more often on Halloween when compared to New Year’s Eve.
“They’re always more cognizant of not drinking and driving because they know law enforcement is out there and it’s probably not the kosher thing to do,” Royce said regarding the jump in accidents on Halloween compared to New Year’s Eve. “Halloween rolls around, people aren’t thinking of that as much.”
And when Halloween falls on a Friday, as it does this year, there is a 40 percent increase in fatalities caused by drunk drivers.
“Highway patrol and other law enforcement agencies are going after the impaired drivers,” Royce said. “It’s just as serious on Halloween as it is on New Years’ or any other day of the year.”
There are a few options if you do not have a designated driver. Some companies are offering free rides to those who need them.