08/13/2013

You Drink. You Drive. You Lose., Campaign Begins This Week

You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.

If you or someone you know occasionally drives after drinking alcohol be warned that during the period, August 15 through Labor Day, September 2, there will be additional enforcement of Kansas drunk driving and other traffic laws as the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office participates in a crackdown with almost 150 other local police agencies and the Kansas Highway Patrol to educate about impaired driving and remove impaired drivers from the roadways.  Known as You Drink. You Drive. You Lose., the crackdown is underwritten by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). 

It is not uncommon in Kansas for 61 people to be injured and 3 people killed every day on Kansas roads in alcohol-related crashes.  According to KDOT, if you are involved in such a crash – in any capacity – you are two and one-half (2½) times more likely to be injured and four-and-one-half (4½) times more likely to be seriously injured or killed than if you are involved in a crash in which alcohol is not determined to be a factor.  The ratio of death to injury in alcohol-related crashes is almost four (4) times higher than the death to injury ratio for non-alcohol related crashes.     

According to Sheriff David Groves, “I want this enforcement to remind drivers of several things: 

“First, if you’re going to drink while away from home, do it responsibly by planning ahead and lining someone up who is not going to be drinking to get you back.  Don’t wait until it’s time to go home to start asking around.  Chances are, if you do that, you will wind up with a driver who thinks he’s sober enough to be driving, but may not be. 

“Second, picture families you know, and then consider how it would be to wake up every day to the memory of your decision to drive after drinking – a decision which brought injury or death to one of them. 

“Third, law enforcement can pull you over for any number of traffic infractions and mechanical deficiencies.  If we do and we detect a hint of alcohol you will be tested.  If you fail the test you’re looking at a fine of $500-$2,500; up to one year in jail; the suspension or even permanent loss of your driver’s license; and the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car.  Imagine not being able to start your car without blowing into the interlock’s alcohol sensor several times during an afternoon’s errands.  Don’t take the chance; it’s not worth it.

“Fourth, we ask everyone to be our eyes when on the road.  If you see suspicious driving behaviors take note of location and direction, as well as the vehicle’s description, and call 911 as soon as it’s safe to do so.  

“Fifth, you can count on this agency to enforce impaired driving laws – during this campaign and all year long. 

“Finally, always remember that the best protection against a drunk driver (even when it’s yourself) is the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraints – every trip, every time.  They save lives and reduce serious injury every day.” 

As part of the You Drink. You Drive. You Lose Campaign, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office will be deploying additional officers on our highway and secondary roads for the sole purpose of locating and arresting impaired drivers. 

Our goal is to insure that everyone can travel on our roadways safely, and if you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be arrested.