Thursday, October 02, 2014

DUI crackdown beginning today

By The Herald Staff | 8/13/2014

Motorists might want to think twice before they drink and drive in Franklin County.

Starting today through Labor Day (Sept. 1), the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Ottawa Police Department are expected to beef up patrols as they participate in the statewide “You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.” campaign.

Motorists might want to think twice before they drink and drive in Franklin County.

Starting today through Labor Day (Sept. 1), the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Ottawa Police Department are expected to beef up patrols as they participate in the statewide “You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.” campaign.

More than 150 local and state law enforcement agencies participate in the annual campaign, which aims to keep impaired drivers off Kansas roadways, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

The annual enforcement campaign is underwritten by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation, the release said.

Kansas averages four people injured every day and one person killed every three days in alcohol-related crashes, according to the release.

People are six times more likely to be killed if they are involved in a crash with an impaired driver, according to KDOT statistics.

“If you’re going to drink while away from home, do it responsibly,” Jeff Richards, Franklin County sheriff, said. “Plan ahead and designate a driver, who will commit to staying sober, to get you back home. You can be pulled over for any number of traffic infractions and mechanical deficiencies. If you are pulled over and we detect a hint of alcohol you will be tested.”

Motorists who fail the test could be subject to a fine of $500 to $2,500, up to one year in jail, the suspension or permanent loss of their driver’s license, and the installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, Richards said.

“Don’t take the chance,” Richards said. “It’s not worth it.”

The sheriff urged motorists to report suspicious driving behaviors. Take note of the location and direction the vehicle is traveling, along with the vehicle’s description, and call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so, Richards said.

“You may save a life,” he said.

The sheriff’s office intends to “vigorously enforce” impaired driving laws — not just during the statewide campaign but year-round, Richards said.

“Always remember that the best protection while traveling is the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraints — every trip, every time,” Richards said. “They save lives and reduce serious injury every day.”

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