Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over — kicks off locally
Traffic officers with the Department of Public Safety will increase enforcement on drunk drivers as part of the National Campaign called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” which kicked off yesterday and is scheduled to run through September 5, 2012.
Commander of the traffic division, Captain Ta’aloloioufaiva John Cendrowski told Samoa News that more than 30 police officers will take part in this campaign, which will be from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the next three weeks.
The campaign will feature “invisible” police officers, who will be observing and ticketing alcohol-impaired individuals who try to get behind the wheel. In addition, police will be conducting traffic stops to catch offenders and spread the word that drinking and driving don’t mix.
The police officers will also conduct sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols, looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated. He explained that those who drive under the influence of alcohol present a potential danger to every motorist, passenger and pedestrian the driver encounters.
Since January 2012, close to 50 DUI arrests have been made, according to Capt. Cendrowski. Thankfully, there have been no traffic fatalities from 2011 up to this date; and he reminds the public about the dangers of drunk driving to keep those numbers down.
Here are some tips for the public from Cpt. Cendrowski:
* Have a designated driver — and if you plan on going to a party, make sure you have a driver who will stay sober and be responsible for taking you home safely.
* Drop off your keys. If you don’t have a designated driver, give someone your keys so you aren’t tempted to get into the car after drinking.
* Pack a bag, if you plan to party hard and/or late. Bring an overnight bag so that you are prepared to sleep over until you are sober and alert enough to drive home.
“In fact, make it part of your plans and everyone will sleep better. ” he said.
“Use public transportation or organize a cab with a taxi business — and please note that walking isn’t safer. If you must walk, go in a group and wear visible clothing, so that drivers can see you,” he said.
He added that he wants the public to be clear that coffee isn’t the cure. “It’s a myth that coffee can help sober you up. Only time can do that — so stay put until you recover.”
Captain Cendrowski reiterated that many people believe that after a few drinks they're still safe to drive.
“However even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time, putting not only yourself at risk, but everyone on the road in grave danger.” Cpt. Cendrowski reminded members of the public to report impaired drivers to the police by calling 911 or 633-1111.
He reminds everyone to “always buckle up, in every ride” regardless of your seating position in the vehicle, because it’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
This campaign was launched nationally in 1999 and works to combat drunk driving during some of the busiest times of the year.