Mandan News

DUI task force increasing enforcement in March

In a continuing effort to end the problem of impaired driving, the North Dakota Department of Transportation, along with North Dakota law enforcement agencies, are providing unified enhanced enforcement. The Southwest Bismarck Regional DUI Task Force announced that there will be an enhanced law enforcement presence and additional law enforcement officers on rural, city and state roads throughout the Southwest Bismarck Region for the entire month of March.

“During our end of year enforcement in 2013, numerous drug and alcohol-related citations and arrests were made in our region,” said Kyle Kirchmeier, Captain North Dakota Highway Patrol “In my opinion, even one is too many.”

One of the biggest problems in preventing impaired driving is getting people to understand that buzzed driving is no different from drunk driving. Motorists often don’t begin to acknowledge their impaired state until they are far beyond the point where they are able to drive safely. Law enforcement officials stress that any alcohol in a motorist’s system will affect their driving ability, and encourage those who are going to drink to find a safe way home.

“Tragically, DUI deaths account for more than 46 percent of highway traffic fatalities,” said Tad Pritchett, Sergeant Morton County Sheriff’s Department. “So if these drivers had made a responsible choice and not gotten behind the wheel while impaired, 85 families would still be spending the holidays with their loved one.”

Law enforcement officials believe that any number of fatalities due to impaired driving is too high and encourage motorists to designate a driver and find alternatives to impaired driving. The success of the enforcement campaigns encourages the Southwest Bismarck Regional DUI Task Force to continue their work to keep North Dakota drivers safe.

In addition to alcohol, the Task Force has also noted seeing impaired driving problems as a result of prescription drugs. Motorists should take warning labels seriously as many prescriptions can impair judgment and motor skills, resulting in dangerous impaired driving.

“In North Dakota, over half of all vehicle fatalities in 2012 were alcohol related. If you take alcohol out of the equation, those crashes wouldn’t have happened,” said Brent Wilmeth, Sergeant, Mandan Police Department.

The Southwest Bismarck Regional DUI Task Force includes the following agencies: North Dakota Highway Patrol, Mercer, Sheridan, Morton, Burleigh, and Grant County Sheriff’s Departments, Beulah, Mandan, Bismarck, and Lincoln Police Departments.

Funding for this enhanced enforcement is provided through the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT).