Chief’s Corner: Drunk-driving crackdown coming
If you or someone you know sometimes drives after drinking alcohol or consuming other drugs, be warned that during the period of Aug. 16 through Labor Day, Sept. 3, there will be additional enforcement of Kansas drunk driving and other traffic laws as the Basehor Police Department 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.
It is not uncommon for 61 persons to be injured and three persons killed every day on Kansas roads in alcohol-related crashes. According to KDOT, if you are involved in such a crash, you are two and a half times more likely to be injured and four and a half times more likely to be seriously injured or killed than if you are involved in another crash.
I want this enforcement to remind drivers of several things:
• If you’re going to drink while away from home, plan ahead and line someone up who hasn’t been drinking to get you home. Don’t wait until it’s time to go home to start asking. Chances are, if you do that, you will wind up with a driver who thinks he’s sober enough to drive, but may not be.
• 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 that brought injury or death to one of them.
• We 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 a year in jail, the suspension or loss of your driver’s license and the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car.
• 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.
• You can expect this department to enforce impaired driving laws during this campaign and all year long.
• Finally, always remember that the best protection against a drunk driver is the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraints — every trip, every time.
Lloyd Martley is Basehor Chief of Police.