Del State Police crackdown on drunk drivers

December 31, 2007 4:07:08 PM PST
The greatest danger on New Year's eve is the deadly combination of drinking and driving. Delaware State Police are stepping up efforts to combat the problem.In New Castle County, three sobriety checkpoints will be set up in undisclosed locations.

The DUI unit plans to move from one location to the next throughout the night in an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road.

"We certainly classify driving and drinking as a violent crime," said Cpl. Jeffrey Whitmarsh of Delaware State Police.

New Year's eve has already gotten off to a bad start in Delaware.

Police said an early Monday morning crash on I-495 was alcohol related.

Police made a DUI arrest along Route 13 on Sunday night. Investigators said 34-year-old Donald Thomas of Middletown was allegedly driving under the influence, and investigators said Thomas' passenger, 34-year-old Robert Holmes, was also drunk and he assaulted the arresting officer.

Police will be on the look out for other impaired drivers New Year's Eve, all reason enough for party goers to plan ahead

"What we're encouraging people to do is utilize a designated driver and make sure the driver understands being a designated driver means not drinking," said Whitmarsh.

According to the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, two people have been killed in drinking-related accidents since Thanksgiving and another 37 people have been injured. This year's fatality stats are the lowest since 1999, but drinking-related accidents are up slightly.

That's why police will continue making routine stops that sometimes result in a DUI arrests. With extra patrols on the road for New Year's Eve, even designated drivers should be on alert.

"Avoid putting yourself in a position where one drink becomes two or three and then you're having to make that judgment call, asking yourself is it okay for me to drive? Am I going to be able to drive myself and my friends safely home?" explained Whitmarsh.

The roving DUI checkpoints will continue throughout the night, so be smart. Please don't drink and drive.