The Storm Lake Police Department announced today its plans to participate in the You Drink & Drive, You Lose, nationwide crackdown from August 27 to September 12. This is the first since all 50 states and the District of Columbia enacted .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) laws for impaired driving. Uniform BAC laws strengthen the hand of law enforcement to arrest and prosecute dangerous drunk drivers to the fullest extent of the law.
Additionally, for the first time, the crackdown will take place during the Labor Day period to target the end-of-summer impaired driving problem. In 2002, more than 55 percent of fatalities in motor vehicle crashes that occurred during the Labor Day weekend were alcohol-related.
"Working in the community brings you closer to the people you serve. I see up close and personal when a family is torn apart by tragedy because of drunk driving. So our message is clear - You Drink & Drive. You Lose." said Captain Bob Swanson. "Don't turn your holiday into a jail stay, or worse, a one-way trip to the trauma center or hospital."
The You Drink & Drive, You Lose, crackdown, which began in 1999, combines highly visible law enforcement with a $14 million national advertising campaign - the largest paid media buy in the crackdown's history. Advertising during the crackdown alerts motorists that if you drink and drive irresponsibly, chances are you will be caught.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies show that nearly 97 percent of Americans view drinking and driving by others as a threat to their families and themselves. Indeed, Americans support tougher enforcement and rank drunk driving ahead of healthcare, poverty, the environment and gun control as an important social issue. The majority of Americans support increased enforcement efforts.
NHTSA estimates that 17,401 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2003. This represents 40 percent of the 43,220 people killed in all traffic crashes. Last year, there was a more than two percent increase in fatalities of motorcyclists in alcohol-related crashes. To counter this deadly trend, law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for one or more of the following characteristics of motorcycle drivers: drifting during turns or curves; having trouble with dismount; and being imbalanced at stops.
Captain Swanson reminds everyone:
* Be responsible and don't risk it.
* If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out.
* Spend the night where the activity is held.
* Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
* Always buckle up - it's your best defense against an impaired driver.
Additional Storm Lake Police Officers have been scheduled to work throughout the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
For more information about the crackdown or alcohol-related crash statistics, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.