Beginning this weekend, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office will partner with law enforcement agencies across Idaho to keep families whole this holiday season. Friday, December 17, through New Year’s Day, officers from nearly 50 agencies will participate in extra patrols to find and arrest drunk drivers.

This effort comes as traffic fatalities in Idaho reach a 15-year high. So far this year, at least 254 people have been killed in traffic crashes – that is the most fatalities in a single year since 2006.

“The holidays are a great time to get together and celebrate with friends and family and we want everyone to enjoy the season,” said Sheriff Kieran Donahue. “What we don’t want to see is any more families torn apart by a careless and dangerous decision to drink and drive.”

Last year, impaired driving was one of the deadliest elements in crashes in Idaho. Despite being a factor in less than seven percent of all crashes, driver impairment was a factor in 43 percent of all fatalities according to data from the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).

The extra patrols are funded by a grant from ITD’s Office of Highway Safety as part of a nationwide effort to remind drivers to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

“We appreciate the officers who miss out on precious time with their families during the holidays to keep us all safe,” said ITD Highway Safety Manager John Tomlinson. “We’re also grateful for others who do their part – the designated driver, the bartender who calls a cab, and the friend who answers that late-night call to help someone get home safely. We can all help end impaired driving.”

“These efforts are about keeping families safe and whole during this special time of year. There are so many ways to get a safe ride home and we encourage everyone to take advantage of them.  However, we are ready to find and arrest anyone who thinks it’s okay to drink and drive,” added Sheriff Donahue.

If your holiday celebrations involve alcohol, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office has these tips:

      • Plan ahead. Know how you will get home before alcohol clouds your judgment.
      • Designate a driver. Arrange to have a friend or family member give you a sober ride home.
      • Call a cab. Taxi and rideshare services are available around the clock to provide a sober ride.
      • If someone you know is about to drink and drive, take the keys away and help with arrangements to get a safe ride.
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