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Labor Day enforcement crackdown adds patrols to target DUIs

One of the deadliest crimes committed in Montana may also be the most preventable. In Big Sky Country, the number of fatal crashes involving impaired drivers using alcohol and/or drugs continues to be nearly the highest in the nation. In an effort to eliminate this trend of high-risk behavior, law enforcement agencies across the state are participating in a national crackdown targeting DUI offenders.

The Montana Highway Patrol as well as city and county law enforcement agencies throughout the state are always on the lookout for drivers who show signs of impairment. During the weeks prior to Labor Day, August 13 through September 1, law enforcement officers statewide will intensify efforts to target drivers who appear to be impaired.

“Our experience tells us that we are very likely to see an increase in high-risk behavior from motorists during Labor Day weekend,” said MHP District 1 Commander, Captain Jim Kitchin. “Instead of enjoying the last summer holiday before the weather changes, individuals who choose to drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol may be spending their time elsewhere—in jail or the morgue.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 10,000 people die annually from injuries received during impaired driving crashes—that’s one every 51 minutes. Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35 with a staggering economic impact of more than $230 billion annually.

“If you plan on drinking during Labor Day weekend, be sure to designate a sober driver,” said Kitchin. “With the additional officers out in force patrolling our roadways, chances are that if you choose to drink and drive, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted.”

High-visibility enforcement is one of the overall strategies employed in Montana’s Vision Zero, a multipronged initiative with the goal of eliminating deaths and injuries on Montana roads. Law enforcement patrols participating in extra patrols are funded by the Montana Department of Transportation. For more information, visit plan2live.mt.gov or #VisionZeroMT.

Sources: State of Montana Assessment, NHTSA; PEAK enforcement kit

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