ITD asks motorists to keep holiday 'spirits' off highways

ITD reminds motorists to make this holiday season safer for everyone by choosing to not drive impaired.

“Whether you’ve had one or two drinks, or way too many, it’s not worth the risk to you or your family,” said Kevin Bechen with ITD. “Make the right choice.”

Idaho law enforcement agencies will participate in education campaigns and high-visibility enforcement patrols statewide in a search for drunk or impaired drivers.

The campaign runs Dec. 17 through Jan. 2, 2013. ITD's Office of Highway Safety funds the campaign against impaired driving through a federal grant that covers overtime pay for law enforcement officers.

While all law enforcement agencies throughout the state will enforce drunk-driving laws, many agencies including state police, sheriffs and local agencies will participate in the overtime patrols.

Violators can face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates and many unanticipated expenses like attorney’s fees, fines and court costs, towing and repairs, and lost time at work.

“That’s if you are lucky,” Bechen said. “Last year, 66 people died in impaired-driving crashes on Idaho’s highways.”

“ITD’s goal is not one death, because every life counts,” Bechen explained. “We’re committed to do everything we can to help keep families safe and whole.”

Bechen offered tips to make the holiday party season safer:

  • If you plan on consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver before leaving and give that person your keys.
  • If you are not sure if you are impaired, call a taxi or sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
  • Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement.
  • Wear your seat belt while in your car or use a helmet and protective gear when on a motorcycle. These are the best defenses against an impaired driver.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take his or her keys and help make other safe travel arrangements.
  • Check the 511 Traveler Services website ( or call 5-1-1 before embarking on holiday trips for updates on highway and weather conditions.

Published 12-14-2012