DUI emphasis patrols happening this month

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EPHRATA — Drunk/impaired driving is a serious issue and local law enforcement agencies will be taking a zero-tolerance stance on the matter during the month of December.

Police agencies in Grant, Adams, Lincoln and Ferry counties are teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which is happening now and runs through the end of the month. Police will be showing zero tolerance for drunk driving during the emphasis and there will be an uptick in state and national messages with regard to the dangers of impaired driving, according to Alison Mitchell, Target Zero Manager for the Central Basin Traffic Safety Commission (CBTSTF).

“We understand that the holidays are a busy time, but it’s imperative for drivers to slow down, be aware of their actions, and make the safe, responsible choice to refrain from drinking and driving,” Mitchell stated. “Under no circumstances is it ever okay to drink and drive. Unfortunately, drunk driving is still a huge problem in our country, and we’re seeing a rise in marijuana use and drugged driving, too. The bottom line is that impairment of any kind while driving is illegal, and we urge our drivers to make the right choice before they hit the roads.”

Statistics from the NHTSA state drunk driving-related crashes took the lives of 10,874 people in 2017, which equates to one person every 48 minutes and a third of all fatal vehicle collisions. The 10,874 figure isn’t merely a blip on the radar however, as, on average, 10,000 people died every year from 2013-2017 in drunk driving crashes.

“The Central Basin Traffic Safety Task Force and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely. “It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave for the party. That’s why, during the December holidays, we will make zero exceptions for drunk driving. There are just no excuses,” Mitchell said.

The CBTSTF offers the following tips for locals to keep in mind:

• Remember it is never okay to drink and drive

• Download the NHTSAs SaferRide application, which can be downloaded onto both Apple and Android devices.

• If the community you are in has a sober ride program, consider using it.

• Contact 911 if you see a drunk driver on the road.

• Do not let someone drive if they are drunk. Take away their keys and make arrangements for them to get home.

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