DUI Prevention Campaign Underway

By: Ashley Porter
By: Ashley Porter

Nearly 13,000 people across the country died in 2007 because of drunk driving crashes.

Officers say one of the most dangerous times of the year on our roads is Labor Day weekend.

Over the Limit, Under Arrest is aimed at catching drunk drivers.

Kevin McFall proudly recalls the day he joined the military.

"On Sept. 21, 2000, I enlisted in the Air National Guard," said McFall.

But instead of a uniform, he now wears prison attire.

"I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am and the remorse that I have," McFall said.

His future plans changed, because he drove drunk.

"Drinking and driving has affected my life and forever; affected the lives of the three innocent victims that I injured," he said.

Law enforcement agencies across the state, involving police officers, deputies and state troopers, want to stop situations like that.

Now through Labor Day weekend, there will be more officers on our roads.

"We'll also use some of our reserve police officers to come out and augment what we normally have on shift," said Police Chief L.M. Claiborne of the Louisville Police Department.

It's part of a national campaign called "Drunk Driving: Over the Limit, Under Arrest".

"It'll be a zero-tolerance blitz," said Lt. Markas Marbury of the traffic division of the Hinds County Sheriff's Office. "It means if we see a violation, we will stop you and we will write the ticket. There won't be any warnings; there won't be any officer discretion."

Officers say it can take just one drink to be too drunk to drive.

"It's a serious issue and we need to address it seriously," Claiborne said.

Claiborne said public safety budget cuts probably won't impact this year's campaign.

"I'm sure it's affecting all of our municipalities, from the larger ones to the smaller ones, as far as how much manpower we can dedicate to this campaign," Claiborne said. "But at the same time, fortunately, a lot of our municipalities have grant funding."

And law enforcement officers say they hope that funding will lead to fewer crashes. .

"I thought that I could handle it," said McFall. "I thought, you know, I'm able to drink and drive. I never thought I'd be that person that I am today."

Along with increased patrols, some departments also plan to have safety checkpoints. The campaign continues until Sept. 9.

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