The 2002 holiday season has concluded, but Carbon County motorists should remain on constant guard in terms of driving and drinking along with practicing defensive techniques to avoid traffic accidents.
Despite designated driver campaigns and public service announcements from alcohol manufacturers promoting safe drinking, the rates of death and injuries associated with DUI related accidents continue at high levels.
It is a general problem faced by all motorists traveling on the highway.
According to the annual household survey on drug abuse conducted by the National Safety Council , 25 million Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol in 2001.
For younger adults ages 18 to 25 years old, nearly 23 percent of the survey respondents reported driving after drinking.
According to the council, alcohol kills more than six times the number of young people than all other illicit drugs combined.
The younger an individual starts drinking, the more likely he or she will be to develop alcohol problems later in life, including dependency and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, according to state and national researchers.
Last year, more than 17,000 victims were killed in alcohol related crashes, accounting for in excess of 40 percent of all traffic deaths.
Nearly 500,000 people were injured and the cost of the accidents totaled $114 billion.
The facts prompt law enforcement agencies in Carbon County and across the country to take driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs seriously.
Law enforcement officers respond to the scenes and see the misery caused by accidents.
Because of the mounting problems on America's roadways, authorities provided extra enforcement looking for DUI drivers.
The law enforcement campaign was supported by personnel from the Utah Highway Patrol and all local agencies, including the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, Price City Police Department, Wellington City Police Department, Helper Police Department and East Carbon Police Department.
"We have received assistance from the Utah Department of Public Safety," noted Helper Police Chief George Zamantakis. "We were able to add additional officers during the time period between Christmas and New Year's. We also adjusted our officers schedules to provide more coverage during the afternoon and the late night hours for additional DUI coverage."
For the last three or four years, the department of public safety has assisted local agencies toward the end of catching DUI drivers.
"We have actually seen a decrease in the number of violations, which I contribute to increased enforcement and the work that my officers are doing," pointed out Zamantakis.
The local law enforcement effort will continue on through the new year.