The Roundup -

DUI Crackdown for 4th of July Holiday


The Montana Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies around the state will be out in force over the long holiday weekend to aggressively target drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

“Independence Day should be a family holiday,” said MHP District 1 Commander, Captain Jim Kitchin, “but this weekend has a history of DUI offenses.”

Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show the Fourth of July holiday period is particularly deadly on the nation’s roads. According to the latest data, nationally, 44 percent of the holiday crashes that caused 179 deaths in 2012 were alcohol-related, and 28 percent involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of 1.5 or higher—almost twice the legal limit.

“Celebrating our country’s independence is a great occasion, but it would be a sad irony to lose your own because of drinking and driving. Driving under the influence is a crime. In Montana, it is the second-most likely reason to land you behind bars, right behind drug possession. A large percentage of inmates in Montana prisons are there for felony DUI. You don’t want to be in that company,” said Capt. Kitchin.

Law enforcement saturation patrols in Montana will run from July 3 through July 6. The MHP Safety Enforcement Traffic Team (SETT) will also be deployed during the holiday. The SETT troopers are specially trained to detect and detain impaired drivers.

“The public can help our effort to save lives,” said Kitchin. “If you are at a gathering, make sure there are alternatives to alcohol and a plan for people to get home safely. Promote safe and sober driving for the young adults in your family and be a role model for them. And, when you see a driver who is obviously impaired, call 9-1-1 immediately to report the vehicle and location.”

Overtime patrols for traffic safety enforcement are funded by the Montana Department of Transportation. High-visibility enforcement is one of the overall strategies employed in Montana’s Vision Zero, a multipronged initiative with the ultimate goal of eliminating deaths and injuries on Montana highways. In Montana, DUI prevention and getting impaired drivers off the roads is critical to saving lives. See #VisionZeroMT.


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