Targeting drunks

Area law enforcement right to focus on drunken drivers during holiday period
Dec. 31, 2012 @ 12:01 AM

The problem of drunken drivers really becomes exacerbated around this time of the year. People like to celebrate the end of one year and the start of another, and for too many, that celebration must include excessive use of alcohol.

That’s OK until drunken drivers get behind the wheel and try to drive. Then it becomes a potential danger for them as well as other drivers on the road.

The Foothills Law Enforcement Coalition against Impaired Driving, which includes agencies in Sevier, Blount and  Cocke counties, plans to saturate several main highways in the three-county area with enhanced DUI patrols during an operation scheduled during the holiday period. All 13 agencies in the coalition will flood three primary traffic corridors with extra patrols focused on identifying drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These three corridors are Highways 441, 321 and 129 through the three counties.

“These three highways serve as the backbones for our communities,” said Chief Ricky Adams of Pittman Center Police Department. “Removing impaired drivers from these roads goes a long ways to making our communities safer places to live and work.” The special operation is timed to correspond with the statewide “Booze It and Lose It” campaign coordinated by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. In addition to this operation, as part of this campaign, the coalition departments are conducting a number of joint and independent sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the holiday period.

This is an encouraging as well as necessary development. The drinking of alcohol goes up around New Year’s Eve, and that translates into impaired drivers on the roads endangering the lives of other motorists. If those drivers are too irresponsible to appreciate the risks they pose to themselves, their families and others, then it’s up to law enforcement officers to help them out.