Labor day weekend will have roadblocks

Published 2:00 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Picayune Police officers along with other county law enforcement agencies will conduct roadblocks this holiday weekend.

Deputy Chief David Ervin said officers with the Picayune Police Department will have roadblocks on major roads within the city limits during Labor Day weekend. The effort is part of a national program to prevent drunk driving and take drunk drivers off of the roads.

According to a press release from the Picayune Police Department, nationally there has been a decline in the number of impaired-driving fatalities from 2007-2008. However, the numbers are still too high. In response, officers with Picayune Police Department, Sheriff’s Department and Poplarville Police Department will join other law enforcement agencies throughout the country in support of an intensive crackdown on impaired driving from Aug. 20, to Sept. 6, known by its tagline, “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.”

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In 2008 alone, about 12,000 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal limit, according to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The age group with the highest percentage of alcohol impaired drivers in fatal crashes is young people age 21-24.

“All too often, innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones due to this careless disregard for human life. Because we’re committed to ending the carnage, we’re intensifying enforcement during the crackdown. We’ll be especially vigilant during high-risk nighttime hours when impaired drivers are most likely to be on our roads,” said Capt. Chad Dorn.

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter or more is illegal in every state. Approximately 10,000 police agencies will participate in this year’s crackdown, the release states.

According to the latest data, 32 percent of fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more, an average of one fatality every 45 minutes.

Picayune Police Department officers will be aggressively looking for all impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone they find driving while impaired — regardless of age, vehicle type, or time of day.

“Our message is simple and unwavering. If we find you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions,” said Police Chief Jim Luke. “Even if you beat the odds and walk away from an impaired-driving crash alive, motorists should be aware that the consequences of driving while impaired can still virtually destroy your life.”

According to Picayune Police, violators often face jail time, loss of their drivers’ licenses, or being sentenced to the use of ignition interlocks. Their insurance rates go up. Other financial hits include attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work and the potential loss of job or job prospects. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.

“Driving impaired is simply not worth all the consequences. So don’t take the chance. Remember, if you are over the limit, you’re under arrest,” said Dorn.

The national “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest” crackdown is led by NHTSA and combines high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity, the release states.