Make the right choice and don't drive impaired because Idaho law enforcement agencies will be out in force Aug. 24 through Sept. 7 searching for and arresting impaired drivers. The campaign is part of a nationwide Labor Day mobilization targeting drunk driving.
The timing for the law enforcement effort is significant because the Labor Day holiday period unfortunately has become notorious as a time when many drivers make the deadly decision to drive drunk, 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 federal grant administered by 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 for people older than 21 and .02 and higher for those 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 a driver 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 41 percent of all Idaho highway fatalities were the result of an impaired driving crash. The state's law enforcement agencies made more than 12,000 DUI arrests in 2008.
"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."
- Planning to drink? Designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
- If impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend or family member to get home safely.
- Promptly report drunk drivers seen on roadways to law enforcement.
- If you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take his or her keys and help make other arrangements.
- Wear your seat belt. It is your best and only defense against a drunk driver.