Police to target drunk drivers

Law enforcement agencies across the state are launching special “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdowns to stop impaired drivers and to save lives on Florida’s roadways.

Officers will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers and will arrest anyone caught driving impaired. Enforcement efforts will include sobriety checkpoints and heavy enforcement.  The special enforcement crackdown will run from now, through January 1, 2013.

“Lots of folks will be out during this busy holiday season, enjoying themselves and the holiday festivities, and we want everyone to be safe on our roadways” said Lora Hollingsworth, FDOT Chief Safety Officer.  “That’s why our law enforcement partners will be stepping up efforts to catch and arrest impaired drivers.  If you are caught drinking and driving impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”

During 2011 there were 920 alcohol related/suspected fatalities in Florida resulting from motor vehicle traffic crashes. The holiday season is a particularly dangerous time. Nationally, in December, approximately 30 percent of all fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involve alcohol-impaired drivers.

“We want everyone to enjoy their holidays, but we also want our roadways to be safe,” said Colonel Brierton, Florida Highway Patrol. “We will be out in force to help save lives, and we are not going to tolerate impaired driving. So remember, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.’ We will be watching.”

It is illegal in Florida to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher.  Violators face jail time, loss of driver license, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job.

There are three simple steps people can take to stay safe and out of trouble:                      

1. Plan ahead.  If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Designate a sober driver or find another safe way home. Even one drink increases the risk of a crash while driving a motor vehicle.

2. If you are impaired, find another way home.  Use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

3. Be responsible.  If someone you know is drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel.  If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement.  Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.

For more information, please contact: Karen Smith at (850) 245-1519 or karen.smith2@dot.state.fl.us.

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