Idaho State Police warn against drunk driving, launch Independence Day “Drive Sober” campaign

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Law enforcement agencies across the nation are mobilizing for their latest safety campaign emphasizing sober driving this Independence Day.

“Basically law enforcement is looking for people that are impaired and removing them from our roadways,” Lt. Mike Winans, Patrol Lieutenant for Idaho State Police District 5, told KID NewsRadio.”We always make an emphasis to identify impaired drivers, but we make a dramatic push during these holidays like 4th of July weekend.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers over the legal limit of .08 BAC. Federal officials say almost 10,500 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2016, the equivalent to 20 jumbo jet crashes with no survivors.

SaferRide allows anyone to access designated drivers nearby via taxi, friend or other means | Courtesy: NHTSA

“Really, it’s a choice,” Lt. Winans said. “It’s a choice for people to drink or to use drugs and then get behind the wheel. That is a choice that people make and when they make that choice, there are horrible consequences that can follow.”

Keeping safe on the roads is a team effort, branching out from law enforcement into communities across southeast Idaho. In addition to making sure there’s a designated driver with apps like SaferRide, and preventing intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel, Lt. Winans said other drivers shouldn’t be afraid to report possible drunk drivers on the roads around them.

“I think that the public needs to recognize that we share the same roads, so it’s in our best interest to make sure that the people driving out there, that we share the road with, are sober,” Lt. Winans said. “So, if they do see somebody that looks to be intoxicated or say, if they’re driving and they notice a vehicle that is driving erratically, their first call should be to law enforcement whether it be 911 or *ISP.”