Massachusetts’ drivers can expect to see more patrols on the streets this summer — 1,000 more to be exact. After a fifth police officer was struck by a drunk driver in the past two weeks, officers got fed up and launched the Operation Lighting initiative.
The federally funded program aims to take more drunk drivers off the road this summer by increasing patrols and enhancing public awareness of impaired-driving consequences. According to state police, “half of the 87 police officers killed in the line of duty across the country were killed by vehicles or drunk driving related incidents.” Based on the number of overall accidents involving drunk drivers in 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concludes that a person is killed from an alcohol-impaired driver every 45 seconds.
The Boston Herald says roughly 2494 drunk driving arrests have been made so far this year in Massachusetts. However, that number doesn’t include the predicted increase in incidents in the summer months. Rick Brown, President of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe, “The problem is particularly bad in the summer. More patrols take more dangerous drivers off the road.”
Some indicate that the increase in watchdogs has indeed helped diminish incidents involving impaired driving. Since July 23, 24 drunk-driving arrests and 263 citations were issued as a result of the Operation Lighting program.
Currently, all 50 states have enacted strict drunk-driving laws. Known as “driving while under influence of intoxicating liquor” or DUI in Massachusetts, a first-time offender found to be operating a motor vehicle with only a .08 percent blood-alcohol level (BAC) faces hefty fines and potential jail time. Since 2002, every state follows the same stringent .08 percent blood-alcohol threshold.
If you or someone you know suffered an injury as the result of a driver under the influence of alcohol, contact a personal injury attorney who can inform you of your rights.
Related Resource: Boston Herald: “States Target Drinkers With Beefed-Up Patrols”