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ITD partnering with law enforcement to keep drunk drivers off the road

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Posted at 3:17 AM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 05:17:42-05

BOISE, Idaho — The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, which is why the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the state to warn of the dangers of drunk driving. This holiday season, from December 11 through January 1, officers across Idaho will take part in a national effort to keep impaired drivers off our roads.

“This is such a wonderful time of year and we want people to enjoy being with family and friends,” said ITD Highway Safety Manager John Tomlinson. “We also want them to be here tomorrow. That’s why we’re asking them to have a plan for a safe, sober ride home.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,511 people were killed in impaired driving crashes last year – that’s one person every 50 minutes.

Drunk driving continues to be a major problem in Idaho too, as 78 people — nearly 1/3rd of all highway fatalities in the state —were killed in impaired driving crashes last year. Impaired drivers kept law enforcement officers busy with 7,930 DUI arrests across the state last year.

“Part of what makes this time of year so special is the sense of community as we think of others first,” Tomlinson said. “Drunk driving is a selfish act and it’s about as far from the spirit of the holidays as you can get. There’s no place for it now, or any other time of year.”

Tomlinson also recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, call police.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.