Police step up DUI enforcement over the holidays

Police will be stepping up drunk driving enforcement efforts in the Valley and elsewhere in Connecticut during the holiday period, according to State Police Lt. Paul Vance.

Vance said the enforcement program, dubbed Operation SANTA (Stop Another Needless Traffic Accident), is part of an effort to save lives and prevent injuries.

“The focus of this enforcement will be on the driver behavior that most frequently causes accidents,” Vance said. “Enforcement will also attempt to rid the roads and highways of drivers who will drive under the influence, speed, or fail to wear seat belts.”

The stepped-up enforcement effort begins Friday, Dec. 19 and goes through Sunday, Jan. 4.

Patrols to increase ‘dramatically’

Over the two targeted weekends, DUI enforcement patrols will increase dramatically, said Vance, who is the statewide law enforcement agency’s spokesman.

Traditionally, at this time of year, many holiday celebrations such as house and office parties take place. Many of these parties include alcohol consumption.

Vance encouraged partiers to designate a non-drinking driver. “Mixing alcohol with driving any motor vehicle is unwise, dangerous and illegal,” he said.

Checkpoints and roving patrols

To combat drinking and driving, State Police will set up checkpoints and enhanced DUI enforcement operations on roads and highways across the state.

This will include roving patrols on:

— Route 8 in the area of Exit 12 in Shelton.

— Wilbur Cross Parkway (Route 15) in New Haven County.

— Interstates 84, 91 and 95 throughout Fairfield, Hartford and New Haven counties.

Report suspected drunk drivers

Vance said no one wants to spend time in a jail cell, hospital or someplace worse, especially during the holidays. He requested the public’s help in keeping drunk drivers off the roads.

“If you are planning to consume alcohol at a festive event, make plans in advance for a non-drinking driver to bring you home,” he said. “If you spot a suspected drunk driver, call 9-1-1 and report it to police. This is a true emergency.”Other violations targeted too

Other violations targeted too

In addition to drunk driving, distracted driving, cell phone use, speeding and not wearing seat belts will also be part of Operation SANTA, Vance said. These violations all contribute to causing accidents, he said.

Dora Schriro, state  emergency services and public protection commissioner, said state troopers “are trying to save lives and keep all of our roads and highways safe. Remember, mixing alcohol with driving any vehicle is a dangerous combination for everyone and illegal in our state.”