Law enforcement steps up patrols for impaird drivers
Law enforcement agencies throughout Idaho will participate in a statewide effort to catch and arrest impaired drivers through July 12. State, county and local law enforcement agencies will be participating in Fourth of July holiday mobilization patrols that are funded through a federal grant.
"Driving any vehicle - including a motorcycle - when 'buzzed' or drunk is wrong and not worth the risk," said Kevin Bechen, with ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety (OHOS). "Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving are significant."
Last year, drunk drivers killed 96 people in Idaho. Another 285 people were critically injured.
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal in Idaho - .02 for persons younger than 21. Driving skills start to deteriorate around .05 BAC.
Law enforcement officers will confiscate a driver's license on the spot when arresting someone on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUI). For a first offense, the license is lost for 90 days following failed evidentiary testing, or one year if the test is refused - in addition to other penalties that will be imposed for a DUI offense.
A few simple precautions before celebrating can prevent a drunk driving tragedy.
Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.
If you're impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
Use available Sober Rides programs.
Promptly report drunk drivers you see on roadways to law enforcement. To contact the Idaho State Police, call *ISP.
If you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take his or her keys and help make other transportation arrangements.
"Your best and only defense against drunk drivers is to always wear a seat belt," Bechen said. "In 2008, only 25 percent of the occupants killed by drunk drivers were wearing seat belts."
Funding for the mobilization effort is administered by OHOS.