Lebanon Police Department announced Thursday it will join nearly 10,000 other law enforcement agencies nationwide in support of an intensive crackdown on impaired driving Sept. 1-5, known as Labor Day High Visibility Enforcement.
The problem of impaired driving is a serious one. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the number of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in America fell from 2008 to 2009, but the numbers are still too high.
In 2009 alone, 10,839 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal limit, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The age group with the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes was the 21-to-24 age group.
All too often, innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones due to this careless disregard for human life. Because were committed to ending the carnage, were intensifying enforcement during the crackdown. Since twice as many alcohol-impaired accidents occur over the weekend and four times as many occur at night, we will be especially vigilant during these high-risk times when impaired drivers are most likely to be on our roads, said Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen.
Across the country, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. According to the latest data, nearly a third of fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC above the legal limit an average of one fatality every 48 minutes.
The crackdown will include law enforcement officers in every state, Washington, D.C., and many U.S. cities and towns.
LPDs Bowen said officers will be aggressively looking for all impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone they find driving while impaired regardless of age, vehicle type or time of day. The Department will be conducting impaired driver saturations through out the Labor Day holiday weekend and will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint on Friday, Sept. 2, on Highway 70 in Lebanon.
Our message is simple and unwavering: if we find you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions, Bowen said. Even if you beat the odds and manage to walk away from an impaired-driving crash alive, the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can still destroy your life.
According to the LPD, violators often face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Their insurance rates go up. Other financial hits include attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job or job prospects.
When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.
Driving impaired is simply not worth all the consequences. So dont take the chance, the chief added.