• 61°

ACSO kicks off drunk driving crackdown

NATCHEZ — If endangering lives on the road does not scare drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel, maybe a night behind bars will.

Starting today, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in a national crackdown on drunk driving.

The campaign begins today and will last until Sept. 6, to coincide with the Labor Day holiday season.

As part of the national awareness initiative, called “Drunk driving: Over the Limit. Under Arrest,” the ACSO will affect a “saturation period,” with more deputies patrolling the area for DUIs, Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released by the ACSO, 12,000 people nationwide were killed in drunk-driving accidents in 2008.

Thirty-four percent of drivers in fatal crashes who had a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher were ages 21 to 24. Thirty-one percent were ages 25 to 34, and 25 percent were ages 35 to 44, according to the statistics.

Adams County Office Administrator Maj. Debbie Gee said the additional manpower is scheduled to patrol especially at night and on weekends, when drunk driving occurs most often.

Drunk driving also occurs more often during holidays, Gee said.

Gee would not disclose specific nights increased patrols would be out in order to encourage residents to be safe every night.

She said checkpoints during the crackdown are a possibility.

Overtime for additional patrolling is funded by a $28,000 grant the Mississippi Department of Public Safety issued to the ACSO.

The grant money also funds training and highway safety awareness campaign initiatives.

Gee said many people in Natchez know someone who has been affected by drunk driving accidents, so the campaign message should hit home.