By Portia Willliams
ASHLAND, Ky. — The Portsmouth Police Department (PPD) joined forces with the Kentucky State Police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the tri-state for the national kickoff of ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ (DSGPO) campaign, which went into effect Aug. 13 and will run through Sept. 1, 2014.
According to law enforcement agencies, drunk driving is one of the deadliest and most often committed, yet preventable crimes which has became a serious safety epidemic in the United States.
Law enforcement agencies gathered Wednesday to initiate the 2014 DSGPO Campaign. The nationwide impaired driving crackdown will include high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events, and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb impaired driving.
Sgt. Rob Davis of PPD, said their department is zealous about looking out for impaired drivers. The Portsmouth Police Department is warning, if you choose to drink and drive in Portsmouth – beware.
“We aggressively watch for impaired drivers year-round,” Davis said.“But by joining this effort, we will make Portsmouth’s roadways safer for everyone during the heavily-traveled Labor Day holiday,” Davis said.
Davis said he is hopeful the DSGPO campaign will serve as a reminder to residents to abstain from driving under the influence of alcohol.
“We hope the campaign will serve as a reminder that those who choose to drink should never get behind the wheel. But if someone does choose to drive while drunk or drugged, we will arrest them,” he said. “No warnings, no excuses. Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk, so don’t take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force, so drive sober or get pulled over.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on average, there is one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality every 51 minutes across America. High-visibility enforcement such as the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign reduces alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.
James Stephens, Captain of the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Post 14 (of Ashland), said participation in the DSGPO Campaign is extremely important to KSP.
“We are pleased to be a part of these campaigns nationwide, because anytime we can draw awareness to the lingering issue of driving while intoxicated is a great thing,” Stephens said. “It is amazing that this is something that we still face to such a high degree. It is also amazing how it has changed over the years, not only is it drinking and driving, but it’s also impaired driving. Over my 19 years, it has transitioned a lot from drivers intoxicated with alcohol to now the impaired, which is usually a combination of alcohol and drugs.”
Stephens said he is looking forward to continued participation in the national campaign.
“As the Post Commmander for the Ashland Post, we cover Boyd, Carter, Greenup, and Lawrence, but what I tell people all of the time is that it’s not a Kentucky problem, it is not an Ohio problem, or a West Virginia problem,” Stephens said. “It is a nationwide problem that we have, and that is why it is so great to be able to work really close with our local agencies across the river as well. We know that it has to be a joint effort to make a difference.”
For more information, visit the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Campaign Headquarters at www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober. For promotional items feel free to contact Sgt. Davis at 7403534101.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-370-0712 or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.