This holiday season, the Punta Gorda Police Department will be out in force cracking down on drunk drivers throughout the City with aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement. From December 13, 2013 to January 1, 2014 state and local law enforcement have teamed up to help keep Florida roads safe for holiday travelers.
The police department is urging partygoers to play it safe this holiday season. “You’ll see us making lots of stops during this highly visible enforcement period and if we suspect anyone is driving while intoxicated, officers will show zero tolerance for drunk driving,” said Captain Thomas Lewis.
We want all of our residents and visitors to have a fun and safe holiday season. Unfortunately, the excitement and celebrations of the holiday season can lead to terrible decisions and serious legal consequences. Data shows that the holiday season is a particularly deadly time due to the increased number of drunk drivers on the roads, and the police department is prepared to stop and arrest any drunk driver they see to keep roads safe.
Nationally, in the Decembers from 2007 to 2011 there were 4,169 people killed in crashes that involved drivers with blood Alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the nation in 2011, and 31 percent (9,878) of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes.
“The December holiday season is one of the most wonderful times of the year, and we are going to keep our roads safe for both our residents and travelers heading to visit friends and family,” said Chief Albert (Butch) Arenal.
Drunk drivers often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, to lost wages due to time off from work. Even worse, a drunk driver can cause a traffic crash that claims someone’s life, or their own.
Please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:
• Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash while driving.
• If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
• If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
• Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.
• If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.
Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Captain Thomas Lewis
Administrative Services Supervisor
Punta Gorda Police Department