The Idaho State Police currently have all available troopers working throughout the state to keep Idaho roads safe. The increased patrols will focus on reducing the number of impaired and other unsafe drivers on Idaho roadways during the holiday season.
Specially trained Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) will also be working during the holiday to identify impaired drivers. DRE's provide law enforcement agencies with certified experts capable of gathering evidence to substantiate charges of impairment by drugs in DUI/drug investigations.
"The holiday season should be a time of year when people can spend time with family and friends. We want to keep our roadways safe so everyone can enjoy the holidays," said Major Gardiner of the Idaho State Police. "We're working to stop impaired driving crashes from affecting any more Idaho families."
Impaired and unsafe drivers are always a focus for ISP, not just during the holidays. Unfortunately, statistics show crashes caused by impaired drivers increase during the holiday season.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, in the U.S., more than 800 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving impaired drivers in December. From Christmas to New Year's Day, nearly 300 fatal crashes occurred due to an impaired driver. Last year, more than 10,500 people were killed nationwide in impaired driving crashes, accounting for roughly one-third of the total yearly. Crashes caused by impaired drivers is also a serious problem in Idaho. In 2018:
- 33% of all fatalities were the result of an impaired driving crash
- 6% of all crashes in Idaho involve an impaired driver
- Impaired driving arrests increased by 8% from the previous year (2017).
- Drivers ages 18-39 are most likely to be involved in an impaired driving crash.
- The estimated economic cost of impaired driving-related crashes in almost 1 billion dollars annually.
Impaired drivers put themselves and others at risk. "Crashes caused by impaired drivers are 100% preventable," said Major Gardiner. "Driving impaired by any substance, drugs, or alcohol, is illegal and can be deadly. There's no excuse for people to choose to drive impaired. It's not worth the risk to yourself or others."
ISP reminds the public that we all can play a part in preventing impaired driving, and recommends these alternatives to drinking and driving:
Remember, it's never okay to drink and drive. Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation, a taxi, or rideshare to get home safely.
If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact ISP at *477 from any cell phone.
If a friend or relative is going to drive impaired, make arrangements to get them home safely.
Increased impaired driving patrols will continue through New Year's Day and will include ISP Troopers in all six ISP Districts.