Labor Day is only three weeks away, but Minden police officers are just a few days away from kicking off a campaign designed to head safely into the holiday.
Beginning August 15 and continuing through September 1 (Labor Day), local officers will become even more vigilant when it comes to drivers who climb behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol, chief of police Steve Cropper said.
"The campaign is called 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' and we plan to be very aggressive in targeting drunk drivers as part of this nationwide effort to end drunk driving and save lives," Cropper said. "We're pairing increased public awareness with high visibility enforcement."
Cropper said more than 10,300 persons lost their lives in drunk driving crashes during 2012. Over the Labor Day weekend, from 6 p.m. Friday through 5:59 a.m. Tuesday, more than one third of all traffic fatalities were in drink-driving related accidents.
"These facts should speak for themselves, but they haven't gotten everyone's attention yet," Cropper said. "It's tragic how many people lose their lives to drunk driving. If the news reported more than 10,000 died in a preventable crime spree, the public would be outraged."
Cropper said this will be the third year in a row his department will be joining the Drive Sober of Get Pulled Over campaign. Anyone caught driving under the influence will be arrested; no tolerance, no excuses, he said.
"Driving drunk is totally inexcusable," Cropper said. "We're hoping Minden drivers get the message and take some simple steps to prevent a tragedy. There's always another way to get home. Planning a sober ride home, whether it's a friend or a taxi, is the right choice."
Cropper said the little extra planning could prevent a tragic accident and save individuals from some serious consequences.
"A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license and steep financial expenses. The average DUI can cost as much as $10,000," Cropper said.