Saturday June 15, 2013

State Police to step up DUI patrols into September

BENNINGTON -- Vermont State Police plan on increasing patrols this summer to get impaired drivers off the roads.

On Sunday, police began "Operation Sober Summer," which will run until Sept. 28. The patrols are funded by the Governor's Highway Safety Program and will concentrate on areas where drivers historically have been cited for being impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Police said that over the last three years there were 874 crashes involving impaired drivers. Of those, 51 involved fatalities, while 388 had reported injuries. During that period there were 7,000 arrests for driving under the influence.

Police said this year 20 people have lost their lives in crashes. Of those, nine involved impaired drivers. Out of all crashes where people were injured, 60 involved drugs or alcohol, and of all crashes where property was damaged, 126 involved impairment.

"We've made great strides saving lives through enforcement, education, engineering safer roads and an improved ability to render medical aid immediately following a crash; however we have to work harder and more effectively in working towards zero deaths on Vermont roadways," said Lt. Michael Macarilla, the Vermont State Police traffic safety commander.

-- Staff Report