The Hingham Police Department has been awarded funds to take part in a national campaign this holiday season to curb drunk driving by setting up saturation patrols.
"Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" is funded through a grant from the State Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Forty-eight other Massachusetts police departments, including the State Police are also participating in this crackdown.
These grant funds will be used to assign additional officers whose sole purpose is to aggressively identify and arrest all drunk drivers. They will be concentrating their efforts during times and on streets where frequent drunk driving arrests or drunk driving crashes have been occurring in Hingham.
Last December two women driving on Main St. (Route 228) were struck head on by a vehicle traveling almost 70 in a 35 mph zone. Both women were seriously injured with one suffering life threatening injuries. One year later they are both still recovering from those injuries. The driver who struck their vehicle was charged with drunk driving causing serious bodily injury and his case in still pending in Superior Court.
Arrests for drunk driving in Hingham are decreasing. Through Thursday, December 13, 73 drivers have been arrested in 2012 compared to 89 through the same period in 2011. This is an 18% decrease.
Some reasons for this decrease in 2012 may include a continued plan that includes education, prevention and enforcement components:
The Hingham Police Department has conducted several OUI Saturation Patrols throughout 2012, using funds from a federal community policing grant; received OUI grant funds to use earlier this year from the state; conducted a Sobriety Checkpoint with the State Police; continue to publically emphasize the Designated Driver Program in which 26 Hingham businesses voluntarily participate in; have rented electronic message boards to increase awareness of drunk driving and last month started an on-line pledge in an attempt to increase awareness of using or being a Designated Driver this holiday season.
So far, over 130 people have taken the pledge and can win a free limo night out. The pledge, runs through January 2 and can be taken on our website www.hpd.org .
Please remember to always designate a sober driver, call a friend or a cab. Also, if you are out at a holiday party and someone is about to drive or ride with a driver who is impaired, do what it takes to stop them-take their keys or make arrangements to help get them home safely. Don’t let them or anyone else become a statistic.
- Hingham Police Department