11/22/2000

Police roll out nationwide crack down on drunk drivers over Thanksgiving

PoliceOne Staff Report
(WASHINGTON) -- Across the country public service announcements are warning potential drunk drivers and people who don't wear seat belts that police are after them.

More than 9,000 police departments across the country are supporting a zero-tolerance campaign, announced by Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater on Nov. 21.

The effort, the largest single-day highway safety campaign ever, was prompted by a study by the Centers for Disease Control that showed that six of every 10 children who die in car crashes are not wearing seat belts. Of those deaths one-quarter is alcohol related.

"We used to focus on just seat belts or just drunk drivers," James McMahon, head of the New York State Police told USA Today. "Now we're seeing there's a real correlation between people who drink and don't buckle up."

McMahon told the press that his department will employ 100 checkpoints across New York from Nov. 21 through Sunday following Thanksgiving.

The CDC study calculated that the majority of the children killed in DUI accidents are passengers in the drunken driver's car.

"This isn't just to punish drivers, but to prevent something worse from happening," says Steven Casstevens, assistant police chief in Hoffman Estates, a suburb of Chicago told USA Today. "We'd rather educate drivers than ticket them."

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