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The City of Arkansas City strives to provide a high quality of life for its citizens by furnishing a variety of efficient services in a professional, courteous manner.

ACPD to start ‘You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.’ campaign

Statewide enforcement campaign to focus on drunk driving, crash reduction

Arkansas City Police Department logoThe Arkansas City Police Department will join almost 150 other police agencies across the state, including the Kansas Highway Patrol, in the “You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.” Campaign, from Aug. 18 through Labor Day on Sept. 5.

A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will underwrite overtime traffic enforcement that specifically targets impaired drivers in a crackdown aimed at removing drunk, drugged and other dangerous drivers from the roadways.

Those driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs endanger not only themselves, but also others with whom they share the road, such as passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Kansas averages four people injured every day, and one person killed every three days, in crashes in which at least one of the drivers involved is impaired by alcohol or another drug.

Each week across Kansas, more than 250 drivers are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Crashes involving impaired drivers are likely to be much more severe than other crashes, according to KDOT, which tracks all crashes in the state.

That is why people 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 injuries: There is one death for every 13 injuries among crashes in which a driver is impaired, compared with one death for every 60 injuries among crashes in which impairment is not a factor.

A DUI conviction can result in up to one year in jail, the suspension or permanent revocation of a driver’s license, a fine of $500 to $2,500, increased insurance premiums, participation in an alcohol or other drug treatment program, and the purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle.

An ignition interlock device requires the offender to blow into a device that measures blood alcohol concentration prior to starting the car.

Police Chief Dan Ward said he wants 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 by planning ahead and lining up someone who is not going to be drinking to get you back,” he said.

“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, Ward reminds drivers that even if they appear to be driving well enough to get by, police still may be able to pull them over for a number of other traffic offenses.

“If we do this and we detect a hint of alcohol, you will be tested,” he warned.

 “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, Ward reminds drivers always to remember that the best protection against a drunk driver is the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraints — “every trip, every time.”

“They save lives and reduce injury severity across Arkansas City,” he said.