SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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December 14, 2012

Police increase drunken-driving enforcement

PEABODY — Police are emphasizing their zero-tolerance approach to drunken driving as they kick off increased enforcement efforts that will last from today through the holiday season.

“If you are caught operating under the influence, you will be arrested,” police Chief Robert Champagne said in a press release issued yesterday. “No warnings. No excuses.”

The Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, paid for by a federal grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, includes extra enforcement on area roadways from now until Jan. 1. Nearly 50 other local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Massachusetts State Police, participate in the program, which is administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division.

“We know that the holiday season can be one of the deadliest and most dangerous times on America’s roadway due to an increase in drunk driving,” Champagne said. “Don’t let your 2012 end in an arrest or, worse, death.”

According to the press release, 314 people were killed in Massachusetts traffic crashes in 2010 — and 39 percent of those crashes involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08.

“Lots of folks will be out during this busy holiday season, enjoying themselves and the holiday festivities. We want everybody to be safe on our roadways,” Champagne said. “That’s why we will step up enforcement to catch and arrest impaired drivers.”

Police recommend designating a sober driver during festivities and taking keys away from people who are about to drive while impaired.

“If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call law enforcement,” the release said.

More information is available at www.mass.gov/highwaysafety.

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