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Police Warn About Drunken Driving Over Summer

June 18, 2009 — With July 3 Emancipation and 4th of July U.S. Independence Day around the corner, the V.I. Police Department will be out in force, looking for drunken drivers. Acting Police Commissioner Novelle Francis is urging holiday partiers to be responsible and not drink and drive.
"Driving while drunk isn't worth the tremendous risk," said Francis in a Police Department release. "No matter your age, if you've had too much holiday spirit, you'd better find a safe and sober ride home or your chances of arrest are high."
In 2007, 41,059 people were killed in the U.S. in traffic accidents. Of these, 12,998 involved at least one driver with more than .08 percent blood alcohol.
Alcohol plays more than a bit role in motorcycle fatalities too. Of the 2,182 U.S. motorcycle riders killed in single vehicle crashes in 2007, 41 percent had blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher. In fatal crashes for 2007 a higher percentage of motorcycle riders were over the limit than car or truck drivers, according to the Police press release.
Drinking related accidents increase dramatically for holidays.
"Fourth of July is one of the deadliest times of year, aside from Christmas celebrations," said Police Alcohol Safety Coordinator Barbara Flemming Thursday.
From June 21 to July 5, the Police Department is joining with other national, state and local law enforcement in a nationwide "Drunk Driving – Over the Limit Under Arrest" campaign. There will be periodic checkpoints set up throughout the territory, but especially on St. Thomas and St. John, as revelers flock to St. John for its Carnival on July 4. But the department is working to reduce drunken and buzzed driving the rest of the time too.
"So far this year we've arrested 51 drunk drivers," said V.I. Police Sgt. Joseph Platt Thursday, noting the year was just half over. "In all of 2008, we arrested 61 and in 2007 it was 65, so we are trying to make sure we get them off the road."
If you get arrested and convicted of driving under the influence, you may lose your license, pay hefty fines, potentially pay for court-ordered counseling and pay higher insurance rates, Platt said. The legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol, but that does not mean you are good to go if you are slightly below that level. If you fail a field sobriety test, you can be convicted of the lesser offense of impaired driving even if you have less than the legal limit, Platt said.
Drinking and driving is not harmless just because you were not caught, Francis said.
"Too many people still fail to understand that alcohol and driving don't mix," he said. "Impaired driving is no accident, nor is it a victimless crime."
To avoid being either an arrest or an accident statistic over the upcoming holidays:
— Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
— Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
— If you are impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely;
— If you see a drunken driver on the road, don't hesitate to call the police;
— And remember, friends don't let friends drive drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangement to get where they are going safely.

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June 18, 2009 -- With July 3 Emancipation and 4th of July U.S. Independence Day around the corner, the V.I. Police Department will be out in force, looking for drunken drivers. Acting Police Commissioner Novelle Francis is urging holiday partiers to be responsible and not drink and drive.
"Driving while drunk isn't worth the tremendous risk," said Francis in a Police Department release. "No matter your age, if you've had too much holiday spirit, you'd better find a safe and sober ride home or your chances of arrest are high."
In 2007, 41,059 people were killed in the U.S. in traffic accidents. Of these, 12,998 involved at least one driver with more than .08 percent blood alcohol.
Alcohol plays more than a bit role in motorcycle fatalities too. Of the 2,182 U.S. motorcycle riders killed in single vehicle crashes in 2007, 41 percent had blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher. In fatal crashes for 2007 a higher percentage of motorcycle riders were over the limit than car or truck drivers, according to the Police press release.
Drinking related accidents increase dramatically for holidays.
"Fourth of July is one of the deadliest times of year, aside from Christmas celebrations," said Police Alcohol Safety Coordinator Barbara Flemming Thursday.
From June 21 to July 5, the Police Department is joining with other national, state and local law enforcement in a nationwide "Drunk Driving – Over the Limit Under Arrest" campaign. There will be periodic checkpoints set up throughout the territory, but especially on St. Thomas and St. John, as revelers flock to St. John for its Carnival on July 4. But the department is working to reduce drunken and buzzed driving the rest of the time too.
"So far this year we've arrested 51 drunk drivers," said V.I. Police Sgt. Joseph Platt Thursday, noting the year was just half over. "In all of 2008, we arrested 61 and in 2007 it was 65, so we are trying to make sure we get them off the road."
If you get arrested and convicted of driving under the influence, you may lose your license, pay hefty fines, potentially pay for court-ordered counseling and pay higher insurance rates, Platt said. The legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol, but that does not mean you are good to go if you are slightly below that level. If you fail a field sobriety test, you can be convicted of the lesser offense of impaired driving even if you have less than the legal limit, Platt said.
Drinking and driving is not harmless just because you were not caught, Francis said.
"Too many people still fail to understand that alcohol and driving don't mix," he said. "Impaired driving is no accident, nor is it a victimless crime."
To avoid being either an arrest or an accident statistic over the upcoming holidays:
-- Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
-- Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
-- If you are impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely;
-- If you see a drunken driver on the road, don't hesitate to call the police;
-- And remember, friends don't let friends drive drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangement to get where they are going safely.

Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.