While others buy mothers chocolates and flowers for Mother's Day, some three dozen volunteers celebrated Mother's Day by clamping down on drunken driving.
As a part of Mothers (Day) Against Drunk Driving, members of Mobile Watch, armed only with mobile phones, helped arrest eight drunken drivers in West Salt Lake Saturday night and Sunday morning.The sting, which went from 9:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., was organized by Salt Lake police, the Utah Highway Patrol and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Though MADD has done such an operation on New Year's Eve, this is the first time it's been done in coordination with Mother's Day.
Kathy Brown, president of MADD, said the event's timing is appropriate since a mother suffers an unbearable loss when she loses a child to a drunken driver. Brown knows since she lost her own teenage son in an alcohol-related accident.
The operation was headquartered at 1636 W. North Temple. The group had a pep talk at 9:30 p.m. and then dispersed. The first car was pulled over at 10 p.m.
The watch didn't have a hard time finding drunken drivers. On a weekend night after 10 p.m., one out of five drivers is drunk, according to UHP figures. After midnight, the statistic jumps to one out of three; and after 2 a.m., 50 percent of drivers are drunk.
Mobile Watch had been trained identify drunken drivers. They look for cars going too fast, drivers going toward oncoming traffic, with their headlights off, weaving or driving too slow.
Though Mobile Watch hasn't been involved in such a sting before, most participants are very familiar with drunken driving.
Jerry and Jan Sears, who have been a part of Jordan Meadow's Mobile Watch for three years, have often notified police of intoxicated drivers. A man driving drunk in a stolen vehicle hit the back of their Bronco once.
"It's really important the public knows just how common drunken driving is," said Jan Sears.
Salt Lake Police Sgt. Phil Kirk said the operation's goal was not to ticket drunken drivers as much as it was to prevent accidents. If the operation meant one person escaped being injured or killed in an alcohol-related accident, it could be considered a success, he said. "What a great Mother's Day gift."