Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police and MADD Urge Safe New Year's Driving
The event was part of the Commonwealth's "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest" Mobilization, which began Dec. 12 and runs through Jan. 4. EOPSS is providing up to $700,000 in federal grant funds during the mobilization for extra traffic enforcement by the Massachusetts State Police and 216 local law enforcement agencies, and a coordinated public education campaign. State Police alone are rolling an additional 410 patrols, above and beyond their regular patrols.
At the event, State Police announced that for the fourth straight year, the number of statewide drunk driving arrests made by troopers has increased. As of Dec. 20, State Police had made 5,004 OUI arrests in 2008, up 7 percent over the total made by the same point in 2007 and surpassing the 4,879 arrests made during all of last year. In 2006, troopers arrested 3,860 drunk drivers, up from 2,869 in 2005. The increased arrest totals have corresponded with a lower amount of crashes involving drunk drivers. This year, through Dec. 20, State Police had responded to 584 OUI crashes, down 6 percent from the 618 at that time last year.
"We are a day away from the New Year's Eve holiday and all the festivities that come with it," said Colonel Mark. F. Delaney, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. "These celebrations carry with them numerous opportunities to consume alcohol. We want people to have fun ringing in the new year, but we want them to do so smartly and safely. And if they do not, they should know that it is a priority of the State Police to find them and take them off the road."
According to NHTSA there were 146 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2007 in Massachusetts. The many traffic enforcement and public education efforts funded by EOPSS with federal grants, especially "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest" Mobilizations, aim to reduce that number.
"One out of every three people knows someone who has been killed or injured by a drunk driver," said Mary McNamara, executive director of MADD's Massachusetts chapter. "We and the police share a common goal and we appreciate their efforts around this important issue. Please help us count down to zero and eliminate drunk driving."
For more information, go to www.mass.gov/highwaysafety.