Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas says a grant funds the “You Drink & Drive, You Lose” campaign.
“But this is a nationwide effort. We take dollars from the Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office that pays for overtime hours for both troopers and dispatchers, so we can have more people out there on the road serving Nebraska and trying to take those drunk and impaired drivers off the road,” Thomas tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The Highway Safety Office distributes a $25,000 grant to not only the Nebraska State Patrol, but to dozens of local law enforcement agencies across the state, all to get more law enforcement on the roads and get drunks off the roads. The campaign actually began last weekend, when state troopers arrested 20 drivers on charges of driving drunk. It runs the last three weekends of the year.
Thomas says driving drunk is extremely dangerous.
“And the numbers bear that out,” Thomas says. “So far, with our traffic fatalities that we’ve seen, both in 2017 and 2018, about one out of every three traffic fatalities involve a drunk driver.”
Thomas points out there are several ways to avoid getting behind the wheel drunk. There, of course, is designating someone to be the sober driver. Triple A Nebraska offers free rides home. Taxi and ride-sharing businesses often provide free or greatly discounted rides for those who have been drinking.
NSP wants to hear from the public as well. If you see someone who you suspect to be driving drunk, you can call the patrol from any cell phone by calling *55.
During a similar enforcement in 2017, troopers arrested 67 impaired drivers and another 28 for reckless driving.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]