Over the next week or so, Amesbury police will be participating in a nationwide crackdown on drunken driving to help curb the issue during the busy Labor Day weekend.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative runs from Aug. 16 to Sept. 2, and police Lt. Kevin Donovan said officers will be out aggressively looking for any impaired driver during the crackdown. Anyone found operating a vehicle while under the influence will be arrested, regardless of the person’s age, vehicle type or the time of day, he said.
“Our message is simple and unwavering, operate a vehicle impaired and we will arrest you, no exceptions,” Donovan said. “Driving impaired is simply not worth the potential consequences.”
Amesbury will be one of 126 police departments statewide participating in the federally funded initiative. Nationally, drunken driving is one of the nation’s most often committed and deadliest crimes, and according to Amesbury police, statistics show that one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality occurred every 53 minutes across the nation in 2011, with 114 dying as a result of alcohol-related crashes in Massachusetts alone.
Donovan said the number of incidents invariably rises during holiday weekends, especially during the summer, so the department’s hope is that the initiative might help prevent an otherwise enjoyable weekend from turning tragic.
“All too often that means innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences from this careless disregard for human life,” Donovan said. “We’re committed to ending the carnage, so we’re intensifying enforcement during this crackdown and will be especially vigilant during nights and weekends when impaired drivers are most likely on our roads.”
Again, the Department of Public Works will be holding a collection event where residents can dispose of prescription drugs, clean clothing, shoes, one-use disposable bags, mercury and Styrofoam, while being offered paper shredding services free of charge.