SALINE COUNTY – Citizens are warned that during the period, August 16 through Labor Day (September 3), the Saline County Sheriff’s Office will join 150 other local and state police agencies throughout Kansas in a crackdown aimed at removing drunk or drugged drivers from the roadways, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. “You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.,” is underwritten by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).
During 2017, in Kansas, alcohol and other drugs were implicated in 40 percent of the crash deaths on Kansas roads. Over the course of the year, this equated to one person suffering death every two days, at least 163 families receiving death notification visits, all due to drivers’ decisions to drive impaired. According to KDOT, over the past five years the average proportion of fatality crashes attributable to alcohol impairment alone is 23% or almost one-fourth of all fatality crashes. The agency also reports that crashes involving at least one impaired driver are likely to be more severe than other crashes. For example, the risk of injury in a chemical impairment crash is almost five times that of the crash where such impairment is determined to not have been a factor. More striking is the fact that the risk of death is over fifteen times higher in the case of an impairment crash. Clearly, impaired drivers need to be taken off the road for their good and for the good of others sharing the road with them.
According to Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan, this campaign is intended to remind drivers of several things:
- If you are going to drink while away, do it responsibly by looking ahead and lining up a designated driver before leaving your home. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until it’s time to return home to start asking around. Chances are, if you do that, you’ll wind up with someone who might appear to be more sober than yourself, but isn’t sober enough.
- Check your medications for driving warnings. More and more, in Kansas, DUI arrests are occurring during daytime hours, largely due to the side effects of prescription drugs. It’s not uncommon to find alcohol or illicit drugs present as well.
- Think of a family you know — maybe your own — and consider how it would be to wake up every day to the memory of your decision to drive after drinking, a decision that unintentionally brought injury or death to one of them. If you’re driving impaired, you are not only more likely to crash, but you are much more likely to cause serious injury or death to yourself and others when you do crash.
- A DUI arrest can cost you thousands of dollars and will result in the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Imagine not being able to start your car without blowing into the interlock’s alcohol sensor several times during an afternoon’s errands.
- Law enforcement is asking all citizens on the roadways — drivers and passengers alike –to watch for suspicious driving behaviors. Note location, a description of the suspect vehicle, and its direction of travel, and call 911 as soon as it’s safe to do so. You may save a life.
- You can count on the Saline County Sheriff’s Office to vigorously enforce impaired driving and other traffic laws, not just during this campaign, but throughout the year.
- Always remember that the best protection against an impaired driver, even when it is yourself, is the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraints every trip, every time. Restraints save lives and reduce injury severity across a wide range of driving mistakes and mishaps.