Police will be on lookout for impaired drivers

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.

The Gainesville Police Department will be enhancing its efforts to get drunk drivers off the road this holiday season during "Operation Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

The campaign will run through New Year's Day in an attempt to eliminate alcohol-related vehicle crashes. There were more than 10,000 such crashes last year in the U.S.

"If you are caught driving under the influence, you will be arrested," said Officer Ben Tobias, a spokesman for GPD. "No warnings. No excuses."

Tobias said all GPD officers on all shifts will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers.

"Lots of folks will be out during the busy holiday season, enjoying themselves and the holiday festivities, and we want everyone to be safe on our roadways," Tobias said.

According to a GPD press release, 30 percent of all deaths involving motor vehicle crashes were alcohol related in 2010 and 71 percent of those involved drivers whose blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit of .008 percent.

Tobias offered three simple steps people can take to avoid getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They are:

Plan ahead: Don't drive if you plan on drinking.

Find another way home: If impaired, drivers should call a taxi, sober family member or friend or use public transportation.

Be responsible: If someone you know is drinking, do not let them drive. Contact the police if you see an impaired driver on the road. Your actions may save a life, but inaction could cost a life.

"We will not have any checkpoints," Tobias said, "but all of our officers will be looking for impaired drivers more than usual."

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office will not be conducting a special campaign to combat impaired driving during the holidays, but drivers should still beware because deputies are always on the lookout for drunk drivers.

"We always take drunk driving seriously, and we are always looking for drunk drivers," said ASO spokesman Lt. Todd Kelly, adding that an ASO deputy wrote three DUI tickets last Sunday in one 12-hour shift. "We will be enforcing impaired driving laws like normal. We do not tolerate drunk driving."

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