National DUI crackdown hits Delaware roads
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
Drunk driving fatalities are down in Delaware and state police are making sure it stays that way.
Nearly 200 drivers have already been arrested on Delaware roads this summer for driving under the influence, according to Delaware's Office of Highway Safety.
In an effort to curb this type of high number nationwide, law enforcement and safety agencies across the country will be stepping up enforcement patrols to close out the summer on a safe note. The Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown will begin this Friday and run through Labor Day weekend.
In Delaware alone, more than 30 police agencies will be participating in 13 sobriety checkpoints and 72 saturation, or roaming, patrols on duty throughout the state. There will also be increased radio and tv ads enforcing the message that anyone caught driving while impaired will be arrested.
According to the Office of Highway safety, August tends to be a high period of DUI arrests and crashes. Since the beginning of 2009, fatal crash statistics show 17 alcohol related traffic deaths, compared to 34 at this time the previous year.
"The good news is it's much lower than it was this time last year," OHS spokesperson Andrea Summers says, "The bad news is that there are still far too many people being killed in impaired driving crashes when this is something that is completely preventable"
A main concern in Delaware is the number of DUI offenders being arrested for the fifth, sixth or greater DUI offense. Governor Jack Markell recently signed tougher penalties into law including increased fines for all DUI offenders, particularly for fifth and subsequent offenders, and an increased length of license revocation for first time offenders with high intoxication levels.
In a statement released by the Governor's office, Markell states, "This crackdown sends a loud message today: Delaware will not tolerate drunk drivers on our roads"
Law enforcement and safety agencies aren't the only ones concerned about holiday travelers under the influence. A handful of beach bars in Dewey Beach are doing their part by promoting the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, which is a safety campaign designed to encourage groups to drink responsibly.
The Starboard, the Rusty Rudder and Northbeach are just a few of the heavily patroned bars that will be posting HERO banners, posters, coasters, table tents and window clings throughout their venue to promote responsible drinking. Some of the bars are even offering free soft drink incentives for designated drivers.
The crackdown's first sobriety checkpoints in Delaware are scheduled to take place in Newark, Wilmington and Laurel this weekend.
For more information on the national campaign, visit www.stopimpaireddriving.org