Danvers police are cracking down on drunk drivers through Labor Day weekend as part of a nationwide initiative. The town joins 125 other Bay State law enforcement agencies in a two-week program called "Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over."
"Our message is simple and unwavering: operate a vehicle impaired and we will arrest you. No exceptions," said Police Chief Neil Ouellette in a press release. "Driving impaired is simply not worth the potential consequences."
The campaign runs Aug. 16 to Sept. 2 and essentially asks local police departments to devote more manpower to discouraging and curtailing impaired driving before tragedy can strike. The effort is funded by a federal grant.
Police say impaired driving is one of America’s most common and deadliest crimes -- there is one related fatality every 53 minutes. In Massachusetts, 114 people died as a result of impaired driving incidents in 2011, they say.
Police also remind the motoring public there could be a hefty personal and financial burden as well -- drunk drivers can face jail time, fines, loss of their driver's licenses, increased insurance rates, lost wages and thousands on legal fees.
“It's predictable, but fact, the number of drivers operating under the influence increases during holiday weekends, especially during the summer,” said Ouellette. "All too often that means innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences from this careless disregard for human life."
"We're committed to ending the carnage so we're intensifying enforcement during this crackdown and will be especially vigilant during nights and weekends when impaired drivers are mostly likely on our roads," he said.
Ouellette says Danvers patrol officers will be "aggressively" looking for impaired drivers for the duration of the campaign and plan to arrest anyone found operating under the influence, regardless of age, vehicle type or time of day.
"The trauma and financial costs of an arrest or crash can destroy your life. It's not worth taking the chance," he said.