Thursday, December 19, 2013

Law Enforcement Will Unite as "One Team" Against Impaired Driving this Holiday Season

IDAHO STATE POLICE NEWS RELEASE - generated by our News Release ListServer

Teresa Baker
Public Information Officer
700 S. Stratford Dr., Meridian 83642
(208) 884-7122
Fax (208) 884-7087

For Immediate Release: 12/19/13 at 4:00 p.m.

MERIDIAN - Law enforcement officers from across Idaho are teaming up to stop impaired driving this holiday season. Police departments, sheriff's offices and the Idaho State Police are joining together as "One Team for Borderless Enforcement" of impaired driving laws. Enhanced DUI patrols will be on the roads in every city and county now through the first weekend of January looking for those who have had too much to drink, or are otherwise impaired.

"Whether you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, prescription or illicit, or whatever the case may be, the message is the same, don't get behind the wheel," said Sgt. Sam Ketchum, Idaho State Police. "The holidays are a time to bring family and friends together and, unfortunately, we see all too often families brought together by the tragedy of drunk driving."

In 2012, there were more than 1,450 impaired driving crashes in the state of Idaho. As a result of these crashes there were 73 people killed and 241 people who sustained serious injury. Nearly 11% of all fatal and injury crashes involved an impaired driver, an impaired pedestrian, or an impaired bicyclist. Just fewer than 40% of all fatalities were the result of an impaired driving crash. Additionally, only 19% of those killed in impaired driving crashes while in a passenger vehicle were wearing a seatbelt.

A grant from the Idaho Department of Transportation's Office of Highway Safety allows for enhanced DUI patrols statewide between December 20 and January 3 with payment for overtime for officers involved in the patrols.

Law enforcement in southwest Idaho are dedicating the enhanced holiday patrols on Friday in the memory of Victoria Shafner of Nampa, who was killed at the age of 19 in a vehicle crash when her friend was driving impaired in March, 2007. Her mother Karen Shafner and representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will speak to officers on Friday evening at ISP's District 3 Office before the patrols begin at 8:00 p.m.

Law enforcement agencies in southwest Idaho participating in the mobilization are Boise, Caldwell, Cascade, Emmett, Garden City, Meridian, Mountain Home and Nampa Police Departments, Ada, Canyon, and Elmore County Sheriff's Offices and the Idaho State Police.

In eastern Idaho, the Idaho State Police is joining forces with the Bingham, Bonneville, Fremont, Jefferson, Power and Oneida Sheriff's Offices and the Idaho Falls Police Department.

You can easily avoid a becoming a DUI statistic but you must PLAN AHEAD.

- PLAN not drink and drive before you start drinking. Alcohol impairs a person's ability to determine if they should drive. You can't count on making the right decision after you've consumed alcohol.
- Designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
- Plan to call a taxi, a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages when entertaining.
- Promptly report drunk drivers to 9-1-1 or *ISP (*477) on your mobile phone.
- Wear your seat belt. This is the best defense against an impaired driver.
- Friends don't let friends drive drunk or impaired. If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their car keys and make other safe travel arrangements to get them home, or offer a spare bedroom or sofa to "sleep it off".