DUI Patrols Increase For St. Patrick's Partiers. Extra Patrols Around The State; Added Focus On Butte Travelers
Helena – One of Montana’s most high-spirited celebrations comes along this time of year. Law enforcement agencies around the state are mindful of the tendency to honor St. Paddy by hoisting a few glasses. Local police and county sheriffs throughout the state will be on alert for drivers who are impaired.
The team of Montana Highway Patrol troopers who specialize in high-risk impaired driving enforcement, the Safety Enforcement Traffic Team (SETT), will be deployed in the region around Butte. The Montana Highway Patrol will coordinate with the Butte Silver Bow Law Enforcement to saturate streets and highways during one of the biggest drinking weekends of the year.
“The high-risk period starts on Friday and goes through the holiday,” said Sgt. Derek Brown, spokesman for the SETT troopers. The highly-trained DUI team expects to see an influx of motorists from Missoula and Bozeman as well as other parts of the state. Thousands of visitors normally come to Butte for the annual celebration that also commemorates the Irish heritage of the community.
“With all the additional travelers, we feel a heavy responsibility to get unsafe drivers off the road before they hurt someone,” said Sgt. Brown. “If you are going to be drinking, plan ahead for a sober ride,” he stated.
Communities throughout Montana will also be getting their green on for the Irish holiday. Billings will host a parade and Celtic Street Fair. Parades are scheduled for several towns and cities, such as Great Falls and Anaconda. Miles City will kick off a Fun Run and other communities will enjoy a dance or a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, like the one in Lewistown.
“It’s not the corned beef we’re worried about,” said Sgt. Brown. “Many of these celebrations are family-oriented, and we need to keep travel safe for those families,” he said. “Even a couple drinks can make someone a threat to everyone else on the road if that person chooses to get behind the wheel,” Brown added.
The public can help law enforcement by calling 9-1-1 to report an impaired driver.
Extra patrols are funded by the Montana Department of Transportation as one of several strategic partnerships to reduce impaired driving in the state. More than twenty agencies are participating in increased enforcement periods. Strict enforcement of the state’s traffic laws is critical for Montana’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on Montana’s roads. For more information, visit plan2live.mt.gov or #VisionZeroMT.