PDT Staff Writer
If you choose the Labor Day weekend to drink and drive, Sergeant Rob Davis of the Portsmouth Police Department says it would probably not be a good idea to do that driving in the city of Portsmouth.
Davis said from mid-August through Labor Day Portsmouth police officers will be out in force as a part of the annual nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” crackdown on drunk driving. The crackdown, which will include high-visibility enforcement throughout the city of Portsmouth, will run from Aug. 16 - Sept. 2.
The crackdown will also include high-profile events, and will be supported by national paid advertising creating a comprehensive campaign to curb drunk driving.
“Every year about one-third of all motor vehicle traffic deaths involve one or more drunk drivers or motorcycle operators,” Davis said. “In 2011, 9,878 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers. That works out to approximately one drunk driving fatality every 53 minutes.”
Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said his officers will be aggressively looking for drunk drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk.
Davis said holidays such as Labor Day are particularly dangerous. He said, during the Labor Day weekend in 2011, a total of 138 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with blood alcohol content (concentration) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. Of those fatalities, 83 percent occurred during early evening and overnight from 6 p.m. - 5:59 a.m.
Davis said drunk driving takes a particularly heavy toll among young drivers. Among 18-34 year olds drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2011 Labor Day weekend, 42 percent were alcohol-impaired.
“Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign reduces drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Portsmouth’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period,” Davis said. “We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel drunk is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does drinking impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive.”
Davis said if you have a doubt about your safety, you should not get behind the wheel. He said, if you do, you will be arrested - “No warnings. No excuses.”
Davis said being arrested for driving drunk brings a wide range of negative consequences into one’s life.
“Drunk drivers face jail time, loss of their driver licenses and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of your job,” Davis said. “When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment.”
Davis said more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign is available at www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov. He said posters, banners or other support items are available by contacting him at 740-353-4101.
“Driving drunk is simply not worth the risk,” Ware said. “So don’t take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force and we will be watching, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.’”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.