Utah law enforcement cracking down on DUIs this summer

PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Starting Tuesday Utah law enforcement is cracking down on drinking and driving whether on a lake or out on the roads.

“Alcohol and boats are a nasty combination to be out here,” said Ty Hunter with Utah State Parks.

Utah State Parks and the Utah Highway Patrol have teamed up and are cracking down on drinking and driving with their new campaign "If you can drive it, you can get a DUI.” “The 4th of July is one of the deadliest times on the roadway with alcohol related incidents,” said Hunter.

In fact, Hunter says the 4th of July is one of their busiest times out on the water and his men will be on the look out for those under the influence and giving sobriety tests if needed. “One of them is similar to the road, the rest are a bit different and different because we eliminate the balance perspective of that,” said Hunter. He says drinking and driving is no joke on the roads so out in the water is no different.

“Boating itself is already hard to do. There are no lines, you have to go off of landmarks,” said Hunter.  Then add the elements of the sun, heat, plus dehydration, even a sober person is a little off. “You’re sense of balance is working overtime. You add alcohol to that your sense of balance can be literally gone,” said Hunter.

Hitting the road after a day of boating is another danger and that is where the Utah Highway Patrol comes in. “If you've been drinking and over the limit we are going to find you and going to arrest you,” said Sgt. Ted Tingey with UHP.

Sgt. Tingey says drunk driving deaths in Utah is the lowest in the nation but there is still work to do. “Last year we had 23 deaths related to deaths related to alcohol however that doesn't account for 1600 injury crashes because of drunk driving,” said Sgt.Tingey.

So, think before you drink, plan ahead and get a designated driver because the legal consequences are the exact same as those DUI’s on the roadway.

“Hey this is a big deal. Yes, you are on vacation, yes your having a good time, but you got to realize when you leave here you could be jeopardizing somebody's life on the roadway,” said Sgt. Tingey.

For more information on Utah’s DUI media campaign, visit http://www.drivesober.org/

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