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UHP makes eleven arrests on New Year’s Eve with new DUI law

John Wilson, KSL TV

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Highway Patrol says it made eleven arrests in its blitz efforts for New Year’s Eve and says all were over the new DUI law and “none were below the old .08 per se threshold”.

On Monday the department said there had been a slight dip in DUI arrests, but, safety officials said it was too soon to know if the state’s new law is behind it.

The Department of Public Safety compared December 30th of this year to the same day last year.  Last year, the Highway Patrol arrested ten people.

This year, UHP Colonel Michael Rapich says, “We arrested eight individuals for driving while impaired during those 24 hours.”

However, the new .05 threshold didn’t seem to factor into these arrests.  Everyone arrested had a blood-alcohol concentration level of .08 or higher.  Also, there was only one significant crash that could be tied to someone driving while impaired.

The DUI blitz is far from over, though.  Rapich says there will be extra troopers out tonight looking for impaired drivers, just like they have every New Year’s Eve.

“All of our troopers have been through updated training on field sobriety testing and on policy on how we administer field sobriety tests,” Rapich says, adding, “The reason for the updated training is that the statute actually required it.  When they made this .05 change, it required that law enforcement officers actually receive updated training.”

Rapich says the steps officer take before arresting someone will stay the same.  They’ll look for drivers who appear to be impaired, then they’ll conduct a field sobriety test.

“A BAC level comes post-arrest.  After the arrest has been made, after admonitions have been given, then a chemical test is given,” he adds.