‘Drunk Tank Taxi’ in Orem among police efforts aimed at preventing DUI on New Year’s Eve

Posted at 5:00 PM, Dec 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-31 23:51:47-05

NORTHERN UTAH -- The Utah Highway Patrol has a warning for anyone who thinks they can get away with drinking and driving this New Year’s Eve.

“We’ll be wherever we can have the most effect and wherever we can find those people who are violating the law,” said Trooper Jared Cornia when describing UHP’s DUI blitz.

UHP will have more troopers patrolling the roads around the state, looking for any signs of people driving while impaired.

“Any arrest is more than there should be,” Trooper Cornia said. “So, if we have one arrest, that’s more than should have been there because people need to make those smart decisions."

While UHP is working to stop drunk drivers who make the decision to get on the road, the Orem Police Department is offering a way to prevent them from getting into their cars.

The department is offering a service called the “Drunk Tank Taxi.”

“We’re going to have two officers assigned to just drive around and pick up people that are impaired and didn’t plan ahead for getting a designated driver,” said Lt. Craig Martinez of the Orem Police Department.

The department hopes people who didn’t plan for a designated driver will call dispatch and request a ride home. Dispatch can be reached at 801-229-7070 and rides can also be arranged through the department's Twitter.

Orem PD will pick people up in a prisoner transport van and drive them to their destinations within a 15-mile radius of the city.

“Providing this service will hopefully prevent something bad from happening, and hopefully, someone from possibly being arrested,” Lt. Martinez said.

The free service runs from 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 2 a.m. on January 1. This is the first year the service is being offered and police believe if it keeps at least one person from driving drunk, it's done its job.

AAA is also offering safe rides home from December 31 until 6 a.m. on January 1. According to AAA's website, the Holiday Safe Ride Program is available statewide in Utah. Those who wish to use the program should call 1-800-AAA-HELP.