Hope police officers have joined a statewide safe driving initiative for the holiday season that will extend through the new year celebration.
Hope Police Department Assistant Chief Kim Tomlin said the “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” holiday safety initiative will take the statewide effort by the Arkansas State Police to a higher level.
“The holidays are a time for celebration, visiting with loved ones, and reflecting on the year past and the year ahead,” Tomlin said in an HPD announcement. “Yet, all too often, the holiday spirit is destroyed by the recklessness of a drunk driver. That's why the Hope Police Department is joining with highway safety partners and law enforcement organizations across the country this December to remind everyone that 'Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,' and that drinking and driving don't mix.”
ASP has launched a similar program in conjunction with the National Highway Safety Administration, which ASP Director Col. Stan Witt said will have a zero tolerance for motorists who are deemed drunk at ASP saturation patrol and sobriety checkpoints.
Tomlin said the HPD effort will emphasize the same sorts of safety lessons as the state and national efforts.
“Whether you've had one or one too many, drinking and driving is never worth the risk,” she said. “If you are going to drink, designate a sober driver before the party starts, and encourage your friends and family to always do the same.”
Tomlin said that 29 percent of fatality accidents during the month of December from 2007-2011 were the result of drivers with blood alcohol content at .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
“While everyone know that driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle while impaired seriously jeopardizes your safety and the safety of others on the road around you, we still see far too many lives lost each December,” she said. “The holidays should be a time for celebration, not tragedy. Help us make Hope's roadways safer by never driving after drinking.”
Tomlin recommended taking certain steps to insure against a drunk driving arrest, including:
--Designate a sober driver before celebrations begin and plan a safe way to get home.
--Call a tax, a sober friend, or family member to drive you home if you are impaired.
--Do not let a friend or family member who is impaired get behind the wheel.
--Report incidents of drunk or impaired driving to law enforcement immediately.
“Your actions may save someone's life, and inaction could cost a life,” Tomlin said.