According to the Utah Highway Patrol, St. Patrick’s Day is now the biggest drinking party day of the year, surpassing he Fourth of July and even New Year’s Eve for drunk driving.
This year, local law enforcement and the Utah Highway Safety Office partnered with several bars to spread a creative message to not drink and drive: “If you’re a little drunk, you’ll get a lot arrested.”
“We want them to go out and have a good time,” UHP trooper Lawrence Hopper said. “We just don’t want them to get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking,”
St. Patrick’s Day “ranks in the top five as far as deadly holidays go,” said Hopper.
Lumpys is one of several bars across the Wasatch Front that are teamed up with the Utah Highway Safety Office to make sure its customers drink responsibly. To get customers engaged in the issue, while still having a good time, the bars have Leprechaun cut-outs set up where customers can get a fun photo while documenting their celebration on social media.
The idea is for customers to get their pictures taken as a Leprechaun, tweet it out or share it on Facebook, and create some buzz about not being buzzed behind the wheel.
“We want to make sure they come in here, have a phenomenal time, and get home safe to see their loved ones and go on the next day,” Torres said.
In 2013, 23 people died in alcohol-related crashes. Last year, that number nearly doubled to 42 alcohol-related fatalities. Hopper said that motivates police on patrol to get drunk drivers off the road.
“Our numbers are going up, and that is not a trend we want to see,” he said. “We want to see those numbers going down, preferably to zero.”
For those who don’t get the message, Hopper said the arrests have already started. In the DUI blitz Saturday night, police made 29 arrests in Salt Lake County and 18 in Weber County.
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