Thursday, March 7, 2013

ITD partners with ISP and local law enforcement to stop impaired driving March 10th ? 18th

Using federal grant funds, the Idaho Transportation Department is partnering with the Idaho State Police and many local agencies in the Magic and Wood River Valley to make state highways safer by funding education campaigns and high-visibility impaired driving enforcement patrols from March 10th - 18th.

"The effort is part of Idaho's Toward Zero Deaths' goal to someday have no traffic deaths on Idaho's roads. Traffic deaths are not just numbers. They are family members and friends lost," said Kevin Bechen, with ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety.

During the campaign, officers will be watching for impaired drivers. They also will check for seat belt use.

"Avoid driving any vehicle when 'buzzed' or drunk," said Sgt. Michael Wendler. "It's not worth the risk. Not only do you risk injuring or killing yourself or someone else, but the financial costs of an arrest or crash are significant," he explained.

In 2010, there were 10,726 DUI arrests in Idaho and there were 96 fatalities resulting from impaired driving. In addition, there were 1,593 impaired driving crashes. 45.9% of all Idaho fatalities in 2010 were the result of impaired driving!

- 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.
- If you go to a bar, check with the workers, many local bars have programs to give patrons a free ride home.
- Promptly report suspected drunk drivers you see on roadways to law enforcement. To contact the Idaho State Police, call *ISP (*477) or 208-736-3070.
- If you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take his or her keys and help make other transportation arrangements.

"Your best defense against drunk drivers is to always wear a seat belt and remain attentive to your surroundings and other drivers," Sgt. Wendler said.
For interviews, ride-alongs, or other media inquiries please contact Sgt. Wendler by email at or by phone at 208-358-5245.