CCSO cracking down on drunk driving

Friday, December 18, 2015

If you're enjoying the holidays with a drink, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) has a message for you: Drive sober or get pulled over.

A press release from CCSO says officers will be actively searching for and arresting drunk drivers from Dec. 18 to Jan. 3 because of the increase in alcohol-related fatalities around the holidays each year. Officers will be increasing the number of patrols and using local media to reach out to all drivers during this time, the release says.

If caught drinking and driving, the release notes, a person could face jail time, fines, loss of driver's license, towing fees and other driving while intoxicated expenses totaling $10,000 on average.

The press release notes that in 2013, 10,076 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. In December 2013, it says, 733 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Twenty-three of those deaths, the release says, happened on Christmas day.

"It's time for all drivers to get the message," CCSO Lt. John Contreras said. "Drunk driving is a choice you make, and when you make that choice, people get hurt or die. That's why we're joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to share the message: Drive sober or get pulled over."

The safest way to get home, Contreras said, is to drive sober or catch a ride with a sober designated driver. If you plan on drinking at a holiday party or at a restaurant, the release says you should hand the keys over to someone else or try NHTSA's SaferRide mobile app. The app allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location to be picked up. It is available at for Android and for iPhone users.

Contreras said there are other options, such as calling a friend or a family member, using public transportation or calling a taxi. The cost of cab fare, the release says, is nothing compared to a $10,000 fine or the cost of someone's life.

Carroll County Sheriff Randy Mayfield asked everyone to be alert during the holidays. If you see a drunk driver on the road, Mayfield recommended calling the police immediately.

"We've got to work together to make our roads safer this December and year-round," Mayfield said.

"We can't stand to see this tragic loss of life again and again," Contreras added. "The hardest part of the job is making that house call and telling a family that their loved one is gone because someone chose to drink and drive. That's why, leading up to the holidays, we will show zero tolerance for drunk drivers on the road. Please find a safe and sober ride home."

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