Maine police receive grant to combat drunken driving

Dec 12, 2012

Maine police agencies are sharing more than $440,000 in a statewide effort to combat drunk and impaired driving, including Rockland and Rockport police departments and Knox County Sheriff's Office.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety distributed the federal money this month and launched a program they are calling “DriveSober, Maine!” The crackdown is designed to stop impaired drivers and to save lives on Maine roads this holiday season and throughout next year.

“Alcohol related traffic deaths doubled in the first six months of 2012 with 32 OUI deaths compared to 15 deaths during the same period in 2011. The numbers were alarming and a call to action,” said Lauren Stewart, director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, in a news release.

The program provides funding to 52 Maine law enforcement agencies to combat impaired driving by conducting overtime patrols at times and locations where drunk driving is most common.

“Highway Safety is partnering with Maine police to make our communities safer. Local law enforcement know their communities and know when and where an impaired driver is likely to be," said Stewart. The “DriveSober, Maine!” effort kicked off Dec. 1 and runs through Labor Day 2013. In addition a special holiday enforcement crackdown begins Friday, Dec. 14 and goes through New Years Day. That holiday effort coincides with a national campaign “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“No one ever thinks that their holiday celebration will end in jail, in a hospital or in the morgue,” said Stewart. “But combining alcohol and driving can lead to one of those three locations. That’s why we are stepping up enforcement of impaired drivers."

The Bureau of Highway Safety offered these tips :

Be responsible — If one will be drinking, plan not to drive. Designate a sober driver or find another way home by using a taxi or public transportation. If available, call a sober friend or family member or plan to spend the night.

Watch out for others — If one knows someone is drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel. If one sees an impaired driver on the road, contact police. The action may save someone’s life.

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