Patrols to watch for impaired drivers over Labor Day
Idaho law enforcement agencies are out in force through Sept. 3 searching for and arresting impaired drivers as part of a nationwide Labor Day crackdown on drunk driving.
The timing for the crackdown is significant because the Labor Day holiday period has become a time when many drivers make the deadly decision to drive drunk, said Kevin Bechen with ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety.
“No matter what you drive - a passenger car, pickup, sport utility vehicle or motorcycle – if you’re caught driving impaired, you will be arrested,” Bechen said.
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,” Bechen said. “Alcohol, drugs and driving just don’t mix.”
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal in Idaho. 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.
Last year, more than 40 percent of all Idaho highway fatalities were the result of an impaired driving crash. The state’s law enforcement agencies made 11,651 DUI arrests in 2007.
“Don’t become a highway statistic,” Bechen said. “Much of the tragedy from drunk driving can be prevented with a few simple precautions, starting with planning ahead.”