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Police Chief says officers will be watching for drunk driving over holiday

December 24, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Although the holiday season is a time to celebrate, the Marshalltown Police Chief said it is not a time to forget how to be responsible.

The Marshalltown Police Department will be on alert for impaired drivers, and the department has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, said Police Chief Mike Tupper.

While impaired driving is a concern year round, Tupper said, with the abundance of parties, the incidence of it is slightly higher during the holiday season. He said the MPD encourages people to enjoy themselves, but to also be cognizant of the law.

According to a National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) report released in August, drivers with a blood-alcohol level higher than .08 caused 91 of the 390 car fatalities in Iowa in 2010.

"It's common for people to say 'yeah I'm buzzed, but I am OK to drive'," Tupper said. "Sometimes you think you are OK to drive when you are not."

Drinking and driving never mix, he added.

Drivers with a BAC exceeding the legal limit caused 23 percent of car fatalities in 2010. Iowa, along with Maryland and Florida, has the third lowest percent of fatalities caused by drivers with a BAC .08 or higher, according to the NHSA's findings.

Tupper said he would like that number to trend downward.

"One death is too many," he said. "We can still improve on those numbers."

Before heading to holiday festivities Tupper said those who plan on drinking should designate a sober driver. And after celebrations are underway, calling a friend or taxi or taking public transportation are all viable options to avoid driving while intoxicated.

Tupper stressed friends advocating for one another by not allowing those around them to drive after they have been drinking.

"Nobody wants to see anyone injured or killed," he said. "And nobody wants to spend their holiday in jail."



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