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August 17, 2016

Ref: You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.

Starting August 18 through Labor Day, September 5, The Galena Police Department will join almost 150 other local and state police agencies across the state in a crackdown aimed at removing drunk, drugged, and other dangerous drivers from the roadways. Billed as You Drink. You Drive. You Lose., the enforcement is underwritten by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).

Kansas averages four persons injured every day, and one person killed every three days, in crashes where at least one of the drivers involved is impaired by alcohol and/or another drug.  According to KDOT, crashes involving impaired drivers are likely to be much more severe than other crashes.  This is why persons involved in such a crash – in any capacity – are more than twice as likely to be injured, and 12 times more likely to die from their crash injuries, than if the crash does not involve impairment.  Another way to think of this is to compare ratios of death-to-injury.  There is one death for every 13 injuries among crashes in which a driver is impaired as compared with one death for every 60 injuries among crashes where impairment is not a factor.

According to Chief Billy Charles, “I want the You Drink. You Drive. You Lose campaign to remind drivers of several things:

“First, if you’re going to drink while away from home, do it responsibly. Plan ahead and have someone lined up who is not going to be drinking to get you back. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until it’s time to go home to start asking around.  Chances are, if you do that you will wind up with someone who may be more sober than yourself, but not sober enough.

“Second, picture families you know, and then consider how it would be to wake up every day to the memory of your decision to drive after drinking – a decision which unintentionally brought injury or death to one of them. If you’re driving impaired, you are not only more likely to crash, but you are much more likely to cause serious injury – even death – to yourself and others when you do crash.

“Third, even if you appear to be driving well enough to get by, we may still be able to pull you over for a number of other traffic offences. If we do this and we detect a hint of alcohol you will be tested.  If you fail the test you’re looking at a fine of $500-$2,500; up to one year in jail; the suspension, or even permanent loss, of your driver’s license; increased insurance premiums; and the purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device in your car.  Imagine not being able to start your car without blowing into the interlock’s alcohol sensor several times during an afternoon’s errands.  How do you tell your boss why you cannot drive a company car?  Add in an attorney’s fees and you may tie up $13,000 or more before all is said and done, and you still may not be off the hook.  Don’t take the chance; it’s not worth it.

“Fourth, we need everyone to be our eyes on the road. If you see suspicious driving behaviors take note of location, direction and the vehicle’s description, and call 911 as soon as it’s safe to do so.  You may save a life.

“Fifth, you can count on this department to vigorously enforce impaired driving laws – not just during this campaign, but all year long.

“Finally, always remember that the best protection against a drunk driver (even when it’s yourself) is the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraints – every trip, every time.  They save lives and reduce injury severity across Galena.”