Labor Day DUI Enforcement Has Already Kicked off in Some States!
By: Mike Stetzer
While Labor Day is less than two weeks away, some states have already begun to bolster enforcement of DUI heading into the glorious three-day weekend of football, barbecues and one last summer fling.
Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its statistics for alcohol-related fatalities in 2006. Approximately 17,602 people were killed in the United States last year in alcohol-related driving accidents.
The NHTSA report also included an interesting statistic showing that 23,240 drivers involved in fatal crashes on the weekend last year had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher. It is of course illegal to be driving or operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher under the DUI laws in all 50 states.
With that said, the need for more DUI enforcement is especially apparent on a holiday weekend in which more people are naturally on the highways as they gather with friends and family to have a good time and enjoy the extra day off.
Here are just some of the states that have gotten the ball rolling on their Labor Day DUI enforcement programs:
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and state law enforcement agencies began an 18-day DUI crackdown on August 15th in coordination with the national "Over the Limit - Under Arrest" campaign. The Colorado State Patrol and agencies throughout the state will continue to boost their DUI enforcement patrols until 3 a.m. on September 4th, the day after Labor Day.
Also participating in this national campaign, the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) and the Arizona DUI Task Forces have been beefing up DUI enforcement since August 17th and will continue to do so through the Labor Day Weekend. Approximately 734 drivers were cited for Arizona DUI during last year's Labor Day DUI crackdown in the state, and special enforcement officials are currently looking hard for drunken drivers at sobriety checkpoints this year.
Two days after a new Louisiana DUI law bolstering driver's license suspensions for first-time offenders took place, the state began its own DUI enforcement program in accordance with the NHTSA program. Louisiana State Police and more than 40 law enforcement agencies have been working overtime DUI patrols since August 17th and will continue to do so through Labor Day. Six people died while 622 people were injured in Louisiana car accidents last Labor Day Weekend. Four of the sixth deaths were related to Louisiana DUI.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety has also been cracking down on DUI since August 17th and will let its added enforcement of more street patrols and DUI checkpoints run until September 4th. There were 900 fatal crashes in Mississippi last year. Approximately, 38 percent of those fatalities occurred in drunken driving accidents in the state.
As part of its "Avoid the 18" program, Monterey County, California will bolster its Labor Day DUI enforcement from Friday, August 31st to midnight Monday, September 3rd. "Avoid the 18" stands for the number of law enforcement agencies in the county. Soledad police will plan a checkpoint from 8 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, September 2nd while California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials will also be out in heavy force on the freeways.
While it may come as a surprise to some that Labor Day DUI enforcement programs have already kicked off in some states, the fact remains that the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at any time of the year are just not worth the DUI penalties that you may face upon conviction.
Thus, if you do go out this Labor Day Weekend and plan to drink, make sure that you have a designated driver who can get you safely home.