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With more people expected to be traveling on West Liberty/Morgan County roadways this Labor Day holiday, law enforcement will be out in full force conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to protect citizens from this deadly crime.

“Our message is simple – Drunk Driving Over The Limit Under Arrest,” said Assistant Chief Wayne Lewis. “We encourage anyone planning on drinking alcohol or using drugs to be responsible and designate a sober driver. With checkpoints, roving patrols, undercover officers and concerned citizens, chances are if you drive impaired this holiday, you will be arrested.”

Impaired driving is one of America ’s most-often-committed and deadliest crimes. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, more than 1.4 million people nationwide were arrested in 2004 for driving under the influence. Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2004 show that nearly 13,000 people died in highway crashes involving a driver with an illegal blood-alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or higher.

“Driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 and above is illegal in every state,” said County Attorney Steve O’Connor. “Violators will be spending their money on bail, court, lawyers and towing fees instead of on the last days of their summer vacations.

The national impaired-driving crackdown is complemented by Kentucky ’s “Drunk Driving Over The Limit Under Arrest” advertising campaign that puts drivers on notice that if they drive impaired, they will be caught and prosecuted.

Studies from NHTSA show that Americans support tougher enforcement and consider drunk driving an important social issue, ahead of health care, poverty, the environment and gun control. Nearly 97 percent of Americans view drinking and driving by others as a threat to their families and themselves. The majority of Americans also support increased enforcement efforts like sobriety checkpoints to protect innocent victims from impaired drivers.

NHTSA’s data also shows that motorcycle operators have the highest incidence of drunk driving-related fatal crashes. In 2003, motorcycles accounted for 29 percent, light trucks for 22 percent, passenger cars for 22 percent and large trucks for 1 percent of all fatal crashes where a driver had a BAC level of 0.08 and above. Furthermore, almost half (44 percent) of the 1,501 motorcycle operators who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2003 were intoxicated.

Assistant Chief Lewis reminds everyone to plan ahead. “If you find it hard to figure out if you’ve had too much to drive – don’t risk it. Most likely if you’re feeling ‘buzzed,’ you’re impaired, and if you drive, we will be out in force to catch you.”

West Liberty Police Department reminds everyone:

Be responsible and don’t risk it … you will be caught.
If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out.
Take mass transit, a taxicab, or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
Spend the night where the activity is being held.
Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
Always buckle up – it’s your best defense against an impaired driver.

The You Drink & Drive. You Lose National Crackdown, first launched in December 1999, is a comprehensive impaired-driving prevention effort focused on conducting highly visible law-enforcement-related efforts to deter impaired driving. For more information about the campaign, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.



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Last modified: July 18, 2012