The Southbridge Police Department is reminding motorists it is never a good idea to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and now they will be patrolling local roads and looking for impaired drivers even more closely with help from a state grant.
Funds from the Highway Safety Division of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security were made available to the Southbridge Police and other local departments across the state as part of the national ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ enforcement mobilization and public information campaign.
This year’s campaign will urge drivers drinking alcohol or using marijuana and other drugs to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, use a ride-share service or take public transportation.
In a press release, Southbridge Chief Shane Woodson said, “Impaired drivers create a dangerous situation for everyone around them, threatening the destruction of lives and entire families. This grant will help increase our efforts during the busy summer travel season to keep our roads free of impaired drivers and avoid the tragedy they wreak.”
Jeff Larason, Director of the Highway Safety Division added, “Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, using marijuana or both is one of the most dangerous things drivers can do, a little planning can save your life or someone else’s. Regret or remorse won’t bring someone back.”
According to statistics, in Massachusetts, marijuana was the most prevalent type of drugs found in people killed in crashes from 2011 to 2016. From 2015 to 2016, alcohol impaired driving fatalities increased 9 percent. From 2011-2015, 45 percent of all alcohol-related driver fatalities were ages 21 to 34.
Nationally, about one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. On average, more than 10,000 people have died each year (2012- 2016) in drunk-driving crashes.
For more information about the Highway Safety Division’s public information campaign, go to www.mass.gov/DriveSober.