Sobriety Checkpoints Will be Part of Activities for Many Labor Day Drivers

If you are one of the estimated 29 million Americans who will be driving more than 50 miles this Labor Day weekend as part of the traditional last-gasp celebration of summer, take heed. Tens of thousands of law enforcement officers and other groups in association with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols from coast to coast in effort to make the holiday safer.

State highway patrol agencies, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and other groups are planning a high-visibility enforcement blitz from San Diego to Southern Maryland (and beyond) as part of a national drunk driving "Over the Limit, Under Arrest" crackdown sponsored by NHTSA and state safety agencies. Officials from the Nevada Department of Public Safety said NHTSA's theme is not just a slogan, it's a promise. Officials from the Sunnyvale, Calif., DPS, meanwhile, said the goal is to reduce the risk to all who use the nation's roads by locating drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and remove them from local roadways. Each year, drivers who are under the influence cause a disproportionately high number of collisions, many of which result in injury or death.

In Missouri, every available highway patrol officer will be monitoring the state's high volume traffic areas during the three-day weekend, spokeswoman Cpl. Julie Scerine said, especially the Interstate 70, 55, 270 and 44 corridors. In St. Louis County, police officers are continuing a multiweek "You Drink & Drive, You Lose" enforcement program. Police officers in Peoria, Ariz., said a sobriety checkpoint it set up on Memorial Day worked so well that it's planning another for Labor Day at the same spot. At the Memorial Day checkpoint, 1,401 vehicles were stopped, resulting in 25 arrests, 17 of them for underage drinking, said Peoria police spokesman Mike Tellef. "It's a move police hope will prevent motorists from driving impaired and reduce the number of alcohol-related collisions," Tellef said.

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