Police, Safety Officials, MADD Urge Safe and Sober Driving this Labor Day
State Police to Roll Additional Patrols on Holiday Weekend
Federal, state, and local safety officials gathered today to orge safe driving this Labor Day weekend. At left, State Police Colonel Marian J. McGovern addresses media at State Police General Headquarters in Framingham. At right, Medfield Police Chief Robert Meaney Jr. urges motorists to make the right choice when confronted by the decision of whether to drink and drive. Massachusetts State Police Photo
As part of their ongoing effort to protect motorists, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the Massachusetts State Police, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association gathered today to discuss a statewide drunk driving crackdown currently underway and the dangers of operating under the influence.
The event, held at State Police General Headquarters in Framingham, is part of the state's "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest" mobilization, which began Aug. 20 and runs through Sept. 6. The Executive Office of Public Safety is providing $865,000 in federal highway safety funds to state and local police for additional high-visibility enforcement activities as well as a coordinated public education campaign. State Police alone are rolling an additional 465 patrols, above and beyond their regular patrols, during the mobilization. Nearly 140 of those additional State Police patrols will be on state roads during the upcoming holiday weekend.
"As we approach the Labor Day weekend, we need to remind all Massachusetts residents to drive responsibly," said Colonel Marian J. McGovern, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. "We want people to enjoy the last days of summer, but we want them to do so smartly, safely, and if they are driving, soberly. If they do not, they should know that it is our priority to find them and take them off the road before they hurt themselves or others."
"We'd like to thank the state and local police for helping us make sure safe and sober driving is on the forefront of everyone's mind, this weekend and always," said Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. "Keeping our roads safe is a top priority for those involved with highway safety. We are grateful to have this opportunity to remind drivers to drive safely, which means sober, undistracted and with seatbelts on."
During the Labor Day weekend, a high volume of motorists are expected on roadways. Last year, State Police responded to more than 330 crashes - 67 with injuries - on state roads from Sept. 3-7, 2009. In the same time span, the State Police made 118 drunk driving arrests.
State Police are running two sobriety checkpoints in coming days. Tonight, State Police will deploy a checkpoint in Suffolk County, and will deploy one in Essex County on Saturday night. On Friday night, State Police will conduct saturation patrols in Worcester County.
This weekend State Police also will continue their "Operation Lightning" road safety initiative, which deploys extra troopers in each of the state's five geographic troops on Friday and Saturday nights. The initiative, which began in mid-July, puts a total of 20 additional troopers on the overnight shifts across the state. Troopers on "Operation Lightning" patrols have arrested 72 drunk drivers.
For more information, go to www.mass.gov/highwaysafety.