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Law Enforcement Agencies Partner to Encourage Sober Driving During Holidays

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Don’t do it. Don’t even think about.

If you do drink and drive this holiday season, you could very well have a face-to-face meeting with a law enforcement officer.

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A statewide effort by 50 law enforcement agencies will be focused on preventing impaired driving during the holidays. The mobilization effort runs from Dec. 18 to Jan. 3, and agencies want to remind all drivers to plan a sober ride this holiday season.

During the holiday season, festive parties and celebrations with alcohol contribute significantly to the number of impaired drivers on our roadways, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

“We want to keep our roads safe this holiday season and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober,” John Tomlinson, manager for the ITD’s Office of Highway Safety.

“Alcohol affects people differently, and you don’t have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive.”

According to ITD:

Although Idaho drivers of all ages are involved in impaired-driving crashes, drivers aged 21 to 23 are involved in almost three times as many impaired-driving crashes as compared to all other drivers.  In 2015, Idaho had 87 impaired-driving fatalities and 219 serious-injury crashes as a result of impaired driving.
Drunk driving kills thousands of people in our country every year. In 2015, 35,092 people were killed in motor-vehicle traffic crashes on our roadways, and 29 percent (10,265) died in crashes that involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08.

This time of year is especially dangerous. In December 2015 alone, there were 840 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator.

“Drinking and driving should never mix, therefore we want everyone to plan a sober ride in advance if they will be celebrating the holidays with alcohol,” Tomlinson said. “Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic because you failed to plan ahead.”

The department offers the following tips to avoid a DUI and to keep our roads safe:

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or causing a crash.
  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on not driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive – even a short distance. Call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, use Uber or Lyft, and public transportation.  Also, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.
  • Help others be responsible. If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys, take them home or and help them arrange a safe ride home.
  • If you see a driver on the road that appears to be intoxicated, pull over and dial *ISP to contact police when it is safe to do so. Your actions could help save a life.

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