MHP: drinking, driving won’t be tolerated
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LAKE COUNTY – If you drink and drive, Lake County, beware: Montana Highway Patrol is joining with law enforcement throughout the nation for the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign Aug. 17 to Sept. 3.
The strong nationwide impaired driving crackdown will include high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb alcohol impaired driving in August and through the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Randy Owens said they will be coordinating all Lake County Area Law Enforcement agencies to be aggressively looking for impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving impaired.
It is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter. Despite these laws, in 2010, more than 10,000 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was impaired.
“On average, there is one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality every 51 minutes across America. But this tragic loss of life can be reduced if we get impaired drivers off our roadways,” Owens said. “Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign reduces alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Lake County’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period.”
Nationwide during the Labor Day weekend in 2010, 147 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with BACs of .08 or higher. Of those fatalities, 80 percent occurred from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.
Among 18 to 34-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2010 Labor Day weekend, 54 percent were alcohol-impaired.
“Obviously we want to remind everyone that it is illegal to drive impaired, and we hope the campaign will remind people that if they plan on drinking, to never get behind the wheel,” Owens said. “But if someone does choose to drive impaired, we will arrest them. No warnings. No excuses.”
According to MHP Sergeant Owens, violators face jail time, loss of their driver licenses and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment.
“Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk. So don’t take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force and we will be watching, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,’” Owens said.
For more information, visit the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign Headquarters at www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober.