Friday, July 17, 2015

To Be Or Not To Be - Impaired Driving

The following blog was written a year ago around this time by Traffic Safety Officer, Michelle Koos , who has a knack for writing thought provoking stories for our readers. She's worked for several years in our Traffic Division specializing in DUI enforcement and responding to multiple fatality accidents. It's safe to say that she speaks from experience so it's very fitting that we re-post this in light of tonight's DUI Check Lane.

To Be Or Not To Be - Impaired 

Do a search on the internet regarding fatalities related to DUI’s and the numbers you are likely to find are staggering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2012 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes. That’s 1 death every 51 minutes.

In 2012, 239 children under the age of 14 were killed in DUI crashes. Of those, 124 were riding WITH the drunk driver.

It’s not like we haven’t seen the public service announcements. It’s not like we can claim we didn't know. Even if there weren't public service announcements, word of mouth would probably get the message out there. After all in 2011 there were over 1.2 million drivers arrested for DUI.
But here’s something you might not know, in 2009 NHTSA did a study and found that 18% of the reported fatality crashes involved drugs OTHER than alcohol. That includes all those street drugs most people know about like marijuana, cocaine or meth and even the drugs you might not think of like prescription drugs and even some over the counter medications.

This Friday (tonight) the Overland Park Police Department is going to be doing another DUI check lane. Yes, another one. Because as long as people are making the choice to drink and drive and running the risk of forever changing someone else’s life or that of loved ones, we will be out there taking enforcement action.

This is not one of those times where asking for forgiveness later is better than asking for permission first so here’s what you can do to be proactive:

Prior to drinking or partying, pick a NON-drinking and sober designated driver or make plans to take a cab.

Don’t let your friends drive impaired.

If you are hosting a party where alcohol is served, remind your guests to make plans ahead and offer alcohol free beverages. We would recommend not serving drugs of any kind as a party snack or favor – not only is it a bad idea, it’s illegal.
Make sure your guests leave with a sober and unimpaired driver.

As always, you can make a plan for your own ride, or we can arrange one for you. Drive safe and no offense, but we hope we don’t have to see you Friday (tonight).