ITD reminds drivers that law enforcement agencies in Idaho and across the nation will be working overtime through the Labor Day weekend to catch and arrest impaired drivers.
At least 30 Idaho law enforcement agencies are expected to participate in the statewide overtime enforcement campaign that begins today (Aug. 24) and continues through Sept. 4. The effort is part of the "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest." national campaign.
"No matter what you drive - a passenger car, pickup, sport utility vehicle or motorcycle - if you're caught driving impaired, you will be arrested," said Kevin Bechen with ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety.
By increasing patrols, officers expect to arrest more drunk drivers and make the holiday weekend safer for motorists. Overtime costs for the additional enforcement patrols are covered by a grant from ITD.
"Impaired driving is no accident - nor is it a victimless crime. Alcohol, drugs and driving just don't mix," Bechen said.
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal in Idaho - .02 for drivers younger than 21. Driving skills start to deteriorate around .05 BAC.
Law enforcement officers will confiscate a driver's license on the spot when a driver is arrested for a DUI. For a first offense, the license is lost for 90 days following failed testing, or one year if the test is refused - in addition to other penalties that will be imposed for a DUI conviction by the courts.
In 2006, 110 people were killed in impaired driving crashes in Idaho - up from 100 the previous year. An additional 316 people were critically injured in impaired driving crashes last year, down from 367 the year before. While impaired driving crashes represented just eight percent of the state's total motor vehicle crashes in 2006, they resulted in 41 percent of Idaho's traffic fatalities. Of those motor vehicle occupants killed in impaired driving crashes, 69 percent were not wearing a seat belt.
Much of the tragedy from drunk driving can be prevented with a few simple precautions, Bechen said, starting with planning ahead.