City on board with national drunk driving crackdown
Last week, Grove City police officers began stepping up efforts to crack down on drunk drivers as part of a national effort that will continue through Labor Day weekend.
Beginning Aug. 17 and running through Sept. 3, the Grove City Police Division will participate in "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," a national campaign to curb drinking and driving through raising awareness and increasing enforcement.
During the campaign, police will perform high-visibility enforcement actions and patrols and be supported by advertising paid for by the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" program of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"Our ultimate goal isn't simply to make OVI arrests," Grove City Police Capt. Jeff Pearson said. "It's to reduce the number of OVI drivers. ... Hopefully, it saves some lives and gets people to keep from drinking and driving."
During the crackdown, officers will aggressively look for impaired drivers and arrest any they find.
As of Aug. 14, the Grove City Police Division has made 165 arrests for drinking-and-driving-related offenses this year. The total number of arrests in all of 2011 was 187.
"We're definitely going surpass that this year," Pearson said.
In addition to a heightened, high-visibility presence, Grove City police are working with a number of businesses in the area to promote the campaign on their outdoor message boards and signs, Pearson said.
"Our goal is to do as many businesses as we can," he said.
For those people who plan to be at social functions where drinking will occur, Pearson said the key is to plan ahead: Have someone serve as designated driver or make preparations to stay the night somewhere.
"That's the key right there," Pearson said.
Among the potential consequences of being caught drinking and driving are jail time, loss of driver's license, higher insurance rates, attorney's fees and more.
"There's a lot that comes into play," Pearson said.
According to a news release from the Grove City Police Division, more than 10,000 people were killed in 2010 in accidents in which a driver was impaired.
Grove City has participated in the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign for the past several years, Pearson said.
"We're just a small, little piece of that puzzle," he said. "It has been (effective) for us."
Additional information is available at the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" website, nhtsa.gov/drivesober.