Police to increase patrols for impaired drivers during holiday season

A DUI could set you back even financially. (Source: KMVT file image)
A DUI could set you back even financially. (Source: KMVT file image)(KMVT)
Published: Dec. 3, 2019 at 7:22 PM MST
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Starting Thursday, law enforcement agencies will be increasing patrols throughout Idaho, Washington and Montana to catch impaired drivers.

These patrols are tasked with removing impaired drivers from roadways, especially during the upcoming holiday, where people can expect to see more intoxicated drivers than usual.

The Idaho Transportation Department provided funding to the Idaho State Police and law enforcement agencies to make this happen. So far, 45 agencies have signed up.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 285 drunk-driving-related fatalities during the Christmas and New Year's Day holiday period in 2018, more than during any other holiday period that year.

In the last five years in Idaho, 266 people were killed in drunk driving crashes, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

"If we can prevent even one of those crashes even if it's not a fatality. ... There's a lot of injuries that come because of intoxicated drivers," said Sgt. Ryan Howe, with the Twin Falls Police Department.

Bill Kotowski, the Grants and Contract Officer from the Idaho Transpiration Department, said those serious crashes don't only affect people who are involved in the crash.

"It really affects all of us Idahoans," he said.

Howe said during Monday's night shift, police made four driving under the influence arrests in Twin Falls.

A DUI could set a person back $10,000 in attorney's fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing and more.

Matthew Conde, the public and government affairs director from AAA Idaho, said it's all about one's responsibility as these crashes, and unwanted fatalities are avoidable.

"Be mindful of your surroundings," Conde said, "Just because you're prepared for the roads doesn't mean everybody else is."

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