For legislators, law enforcement agencies, and private advocacy groups the fight against drunk driving never ends. Recently, a number of those groups and agencies announced that they will be banding together in a cooperative effort to combat drunk driving in Sarpy County, Nebraska.
According to news reports, the collaborative effort will be known simply as the “Sarpy County DUI Task Force” and will be made up of the police departments in La Vista, Bellevue and Papillion, and the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office. Both Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Project Extra Mile will also be involved in the task force efforts. According to La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten, the group will work together to “create omnipresence for law enforcement in Sarpy County.”
The Task Force plans to use several methods to reduce the number of motorists who drive under the influence, including additional patrols throughout the areas included in the task force as well as increased DUI checkpoints and high volume traffic stops. In addition, the Task Force plans to make use of both local media and social media in the hope of reaching drivers with the message that drinking and driving is both dangerous and illegal.
Initially, efforts will be limited to once a month and will focus on specific days and events that tend to result in a high number of drivers driving under the influence, such as New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, homecoming and prom nights.
Although the combined efforts of law enforcement, legislators, and advocates over the past several decades has resulted in a noticeable decrease in the number of lives lost to drunk drivers in recent years, a significant number of people are still seriously injured and killed each year as a result of driving under the influence.
According to law enforcement statistics relating to drunk drivers, there were 1,721 crashes throughout the State of Nebraska in 2014 in which alcohol played a role in the crash. As a result of those collisions, 78 people were killed and an additional 1,128 people were injured state-wide. Sarpy County alone saw 103 alcohol related crashes, causing one fatality and 60 injuries last year.