Picayune on patrol

Published 7:15 pm Thursday, August 23, 2007

Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest crimes and the Picayune Police Department teamed with other law enforcement agencies will be looking for drunk drivers.

In 2005, nearly 13,000 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In 2005 Mississippi had a total of 931 fatalities and 2006 there were 911 fatalities. So far this year 405 fatalities have been reported in Mississippi. In both years approximately 38 percent were intoxicated and 60 percent were unrestrained.

The picture for the motorcycle operators is particularly bleak. Forty-one percent of the 1,878 motorcycle operators who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2005 had a BAC level of .08 or higher, according to a press release from the Picayune Police Department

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That’s why the Picayune Police announce they will be joining with thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation from now throughout the Labor Day holiday to take part in the “Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest” crackdown on impaired driving now through Sept. 3, according to the release.

Deputy Chief David Ervin said in the release that officers will be seeking to increase the law enforcement activity of last year’s inaugural Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest crackdown. This year, the public should expect to see even more sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.

“Make no mistake. Our message is simple. No matter what you drive — a passenger car, pickup, sport utility vehicle, or motorcycle — if we catch you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions. No excuses,” Ervin said.

Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. Yet in 2005, 12,945 crash fatalities involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 or higher, amounting to one fatality every 41 minutes. To deter this careless disregard for human life, Ervin said officers are dedicated to arresting impaired drivers wherever and whenever they find them.

“Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the financial and personal costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant,” Ervin said.

Violators often face jail time, loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and dozens of other expenses. Plus, offenders risk added embarrassment, humiliation and other potential losses and consequences after informing family, friends and employers.