Thursday through Labor Day
From Thursday through Labor Day, there will be additional enforcement of Kansas drunk driving and other traffic laws as the El Dorado Police Department participates, along with almost 150 other local and state police agencies across the state, in a crackdown aimed at removing impaired drivers from the roadways.
Known as “You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.,” the enforcement is underwritten by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Kansas averages four persons injured every day, and one person killed every three days, in alcohol-related crashes. According to KDOT, if a person is involved in such a crash – in any capacity – he or she is two times more likely to be injured and nearly six times more likely to be serious injured or killed than if involved in a crash in which alcohol is not determined to be a factor. The ratio of death to injuries in alcohol-related crashes is almost seven times higher than the death to injury ratio for non-alcohol-related crashes.
“I want You Drink. You Drive. You Lose. to remind drivers of several things,” said Police Chief Curt Zieman. “First, if you’re going to drink while away from home, do it responsibly by planning ahead and lining up someone who is not going to be drinking to get you back. Don’t wait until it’s time to go home to start asking around. Chances are, if you do that, you will wind up with a driver who thinks he or she is sober enough to be driving, but who may not be.
“Second,” Zieman continued, “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 which brought injury or death to one of them.
“Third, we can pull you over for any number of traffic infractions and mechanical deficiencies. If we do and we detect a hit of alcohol you will be tested. If you fail the test you’re looking at a fine of $500 to $2,500; up to one year in jail; the suspension, or even permanent loss, of your driver’s license; and the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car. Imagine not being able to start your car without blowing into the interlock’s alcohol sensor several times during an afternoon’s errands. Don’t take the chance; it’s not worth it.
“Forth,” Zieman said, “we need everyone to be our eyes on the road. If you see suspicious driving behaviors take note of location and direction, and the vehicle’s description, and call 911 as soon as it’s safe to do so. You may save a life.
“Fifth, you can count on this department to vigorously enforce impaired driving laws – not just during this campaign but all year long.
“Finally, always remember that the best protection against a drunk driver (even when it’s yourself) is the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraints – every trip, every time. They save lives and reduce serious injury ever day.”