Neosho police will join law enforcement across the state and the nation over this Fourth of July holiday to ensure motorists “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
“We’re stepping up patrols and basically we are going to be out in force for the Fourth of July weekend, looking for impaired drivers,” said Sgt. Bradley Fienen, with the Neosho Police Department. Fienen noted that holiday weekends are a time when families and friends get together, celebrating with food, parties, fireworks, and enjoy a drink or two.
“We know that statistics show that there’s more impaired drivers on the road during holiday weekends,” he said.
Fienen said celebrations that include alcohol can quickly go from festive to fatal, as 78 people were killed in alcohol impaired-driving crashes on the nation’s roads during the 2012 Fourth of July holiday period. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), that is 44 percent of the total 179 people killed in crashes over that holiday period. The NHTSA also states that 10,322 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes across the nation in 2012, a third of all crash fatalities.
Fienen said the Neosho Police Department is ramping up enforcement to make the roads safer this Fourth of July.
“We’re going to have a couple of saturation patrols this weekend, which means we’ll have several extra officers on the streets looking for impaired drivers,” he said.
He noted that police will pay extra close attention during the evening hours and the early morning when the bars close. That is emboldened by NHTSA data that shows that 39 percent of the drivers in nighttime fatal crashes over the 2012 Fourth of July holiday were alcohol-impaired, compared to 16 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.
NHTSA data also shows that 46 percent of young drivers (age 18-34) were drunk while driving in fatal crashes over the 2012 holiday, and 27 percent of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes during that holiday period had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the level at which it is illegal to drive in every state. The FBI reports that over 1.28 million drivers were arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2012.
Fienen said the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving.
“Most importantly, do not drink and drive, or you will be arrested,” is his first tip for keeping yourself and other safe over the Fourth of July holiday.
“Also, plan ahead, plan for a safe way home,” he said. “We do have a taxi company here in town they can call if they have no designated driver or family member or friend that they can contact to get them home safely.”
He advised not to hesitate to call police if you see a drunk driver on the road, and if you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, Fienen warned to take their keys and help make other arrangements to get them to their destination safely.
He said this is the first of several special enforcement efforts that Neosho police will conduct over the summer, which will include some checkpoints. He said those will be announced as the effort approaches.
Fienen said drunk driving puts your life and the lives of others at risk, and can lead to serious consequences. He said a DUI arrest can lead to jail time, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses: the average DUI costs about $10,000.
For information about the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.