by Andrew Martin
The Vermont State Police have implemented an initiative known as “Operation Sober Summer” with the goal of cracking down on impaired driving in the state over the summer months. On Sunday, June 9 troopers kicked off the 16-week operation, which will run until September 28.
According to a press release issued on Operation Sober Summer by the Vermont State Police the initiative aims to “reduce the number of impaired drivers on the roads and save lives this summer in Vermont.”
Police are hoping to accomplish this goal by using an analytical review of crash data and DUI statistics to help identify areas of the state with higher impaired driving rates. They then plan to up patrol and checkpoints in those higher risk areas. This increased patrol aims at not only getting impaired drivers off the road but also raising public awareness on the issue.
The News & Citizen did not get a response, after several calls to police.
“We’ve made great strides saving lives through enforcement, education, engineering safer roads and an improved ability to render medical aid immediately following a crash,” commented Vermont State Police Traffic Safety Commander Lt. Michael Macarilla in the press release issued on Operation Sober Summer, “…However we have to work harder and more effectively in working towards zero deaths on Vermont roadways. “
The records used by the Vermont State Police show that over the last three years there were a total of 874 driver-impaired related car accidents in the state, 51 of which were fatal. During that same time period there were a total of 7,000 DUI arrests in Vermont. Of the 19 fatal crashes in Vermont so far in 2013 nine of them involved drugs and/or alcohol. An additional 60 crashes resulting in injury and 126 accidents resulting in property damage were drug and/or alcohol related.
“Please use common sense; designate a sober driver,” urged Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn in the press release, “It isn’t worth risking your life or
Funding for Operation Sober Summer is provided by the Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program.