Printed on: December 24, 2012

Police target impaired drivers over the holidays

By Ruth Brown

With the holiday season here, Idaho State Police troopers and Bonneville County sheriff's deputies are participating in "emphasis patrols" to intercept impaired drivers.

The Idaho Transportation Department and Office of Highway Safety sponsor the patrols as a way to put additional law enforcement officers on the road. The campaign began Dec. 17 and continues through Jan. 2.

ISP Lt. Chris Weadick said patrolmen will be out in full force, especially on weekends, with one to three extra deputies on the road.

Officers have seen a great level of voluntary compliance with driving under the influence laws, Weadick said.

"Our message seems to be getting out about DUIs," he said. "I think society doesn't approve of drunk driving, and that's very encouraging."

In recent years, law enforcement officers have stopped vehicles and found the passengers intoxicated but drivers who are sober, he said.

It's a trend that's on the rise.

Officers do, however, sometimes encounter drivers who are the "least drunk" of a group but still above the legal limit to drive, Weadick said.

"Being the least drunk doesn't mean it's a good idea," he said.

It's especially important to focus on drunken drivers during the holiday season, Weadick said, because people not only drink more, but there also are more people on the roads.

Ruth Brown can be reached at 542-6750. Follow on Twitter: @ruthbrown1. Comment on this story on Post Talk at /posttalk/.