Law enforcement out to keep impaired drivers off the road

Voices Of The Peninsula

Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year for motorists, due to an increase in the number of drunk drivers on our roads and highways.

That is why the Soldotna and Kenai police departments and the Alaska State Troopers Soldotna Post will be out in full force looking for and cracking down on impaired drivers this holiday season. The message, which most have heard by now, and too many have experienced firsthand, is simple and true: You drink. You drive. You lose.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,210 people across America, just during the month of December 2004, were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .01 or higher. 1,054 of those drivers had an illegal BAC level of .08 or above.

That is why we are committed to working overtime patrols to catch and arrest anyone who is driving while impaired. We are committed to saving lives this holiday season.

We know there are going to be holiday celebrations and office parties where alcohol will be consumed. So we encourage everyone to designate a sober driver before the party begins. Police and troopers will be out in force to keep our roads safe. Please do not allow your holiday to be dampened by an arrest for DUI, or a tragic accident. Our community has to work together to make this a safe holiday.

Designating a sober driver is just one of several simple steps that can help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving:

· If you’re impaired, call a taxi or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;

· Immediately report impaired drivers to law enforcement;

· Remember, friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Take the keys and don’t let a friend or family member leave your sight if you think they are about to drive impaired;

· Always buckle up — it’s your best defense against an impaired driver;

· Spend the night where the activity is being held and sleep it off if need be.

Impaired driving is no accident — nor is it a victimless crime. It is one of Alaska’s deadliest problems — and it is against the law.

In fact, our state’s most recent crime report shows more people die in impaired driving crashes than die from homicide in all of Alaska. That is why we will show zero tolerance for the impaired driver this holiday season.

Violators can expect to spend their money on court costs, lawyers, higher insurance rates, vehicle impound fees and, in some instances, auto-body repairs or vehicle replacements and hospital bills instead of buying holiday presents for others.

Do not end the year this way.

Remember, we are all teaming up to enforce Alaska’s impaired driving laws because these laws save lives and prevent injuries. Don’t be caught drinking and driving this holiday season.

This column was provided by Chief John Lucking Jr. of the Soldotna Police Department, Chief Charles Kopp of the Kenai Police Department and Capt. Tom Bowman of the Alaska State Troopers in a joint effort to increase awareness about drinking and driving.

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