Law Enforcement Will Unite as "One Team" Against Impaired Driving this Holiday Season
Boise Police are joining agencies throughout Idaho in working to keep the roads safer for holiday travelers. BPD is taking part in a statewide effort to increase DUI patrols beginning tomorrow, December 20th through January 3rd.
Officers are making a special effort to try and educate people against combining alcohol with prescription meds, a dangerous practice officer say they are seeing more of.
"Our message this holiday is to think before you drink and to plan ahead for safe transportation if you plan to drink alcohol, not only this holiday, but all the time," said Officer Dave Frederick of the Boise Police DUI Night STEP team.
"Sadly, during the holidays, crashes due to impaired drivers can be even more tragic. But families will live with the loss of a loved one every single day. We want to do all we can to make sure that doesn't happen."
Boise DUI Arrest Statistics:
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Jan - Sep2013
2,102 1,660 1,530 1,379 1,168 681
DUI Arrests in Boise City have seen a decrease in recent years. Officers attribute the decline to consistent priority enforcement combined with public education prevention strategies.
'Education is making a difference. So are more taxis downtown and the private ride-sharing services. When we make a stop, we're finding people in the car have been drinking but using a designated driver. People seem to know the enforcement is out there and they're making plans for safe rides home. It's really good to see. Still, the decrease in arrests has not decreased our efforts." said Officer Frederick.
Free Breath Testing Friday Night, 6th & Main:
As part of the department's ongoing DUI prevention efforts, Boise Police officers will offer free breath testing Friday night from 10:00 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. at the corner of 6th & Main Streets downtown. To take part, look for the BPD Mobile Substation.
Boise City Taxi is offering a $5.00 coupon for people that participate in the event and realize they need a safe ride home!
Alcohol and Prescription Meds:
Boise Police DUI officers say although DUI arrests are decreasing, one area of increasing concern is impaired driving due to a mixture of alcohol and prescription medications like painkillers or anti-depressants.
"A driver may not be over the limit with alcohol but put meds on top of that and it can impair your ability to safely drive a car. The mixture definitely can lead to an arrest for DUI." said Officer Frederick.
Six Boise Police officers are trained DRE's or Drug Recognition Experts. DRE officers are experts in recognizing impairment with substances other than alcohol.
2012 DUI Crash Statistics:
- 1,450 impaired driving crashes in the state of Idaho.
- 73 people killed
- 241 people seriously injury.
- Nearly 11% of all fatal and injury crashes involved an impaired driver, an impaired pedestrian, or an impaired bicyclist.
- Just fewer than 40percent of all fatalities were the result of an impaired driving crash.
- Only 19% of those killed in impaired driving crashes while in a passenger vehicle were wearing a seatbelt.
One Team for Borderless Enforcement: in Memory of Victoria Shafner:
Boise Police are joining in the "One Team for Borderless Enforcement" of impaired driving laws this holiday.
A grant from the Idaho Department of Transportation's Office of Highway Safety allows for enhanced DUI patrols statewide between December 20 and January 3 reimbursing department's for overtime for officers involved in the extra patrols.
Law enforcement in southwest Idaho are dedicating the enhanced holiday patrols to the memory of Victoria Shafner of Nampa, who was killed at the age of 19 in a vehicle crash when her friend was driving impaired in March, 2007.
Victoria's mother Karen Shafner and representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will speak to officers on Friday evening, Dec. 20th at ISP's District 3 Office before the patrols begin at 8:00 p.m.
Prevent and Protect Yourself Against Impaired Driving:
- PLAN not drink and drive before you start drinking. Alcohol impairs a person's ability to determine if they should drive. You can't count on making the right decision after you've consumed alcohol.
- Designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
- Plan to call a taxi, a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages when entertaining.
- Promptly report drunk drivers to 9-1-1 on your mobile phone.
- Wear your seat belt. This is the best defense against an impaired driver.
- Friends don't let friends drive drunk or impaired. If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their car keys and make other safe travel arrangements to get them home, or offer a spare bedroom or sofa to "sleep it off".