NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford Police will join local police departments across the state and the State Police in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over (DSOGPO), an enforcement mobilization and public information campaign.

The New Bedford Police Department was awarded a special grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to increase the number of impaired driving patrols during the holiday season.

“Drivers impaired by any drug, including marijuana or alcohol, are a major threat to the safety of our roads,” said New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro. “Our officers will be stopping any motorist who is exhibiting signs of impairment, or driving in a dangerous manner.”

The DSOGPO educational component of the campaign will stress the responsibility drivers have to other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to stay off the road if impaired by any substance.

“We needlessly lost 119 people to impaired driving last year in Massachusetts,” said Jeff Larason, Director of the EOPSS Highway Safety Division. “As part of this year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign we are asking drivers to acknowledge the responsibility they have to their passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists on the road with them, to drive without impairment of any kind,” said Larason. “Plan ahead before you celebrate this holiday season and designate a sober driver, use a ride sharing service, or stay where you are – whatever it takes to avoid getting behind the wheel.”

Massachusetts and National Data:

· From 2015 to 2016, alcohol impaired driving fatalities in MA increased 9 percent (from 109 to 119).

· On average, 800 people have been killed nationally in December crashes involving drivers with BACs over the legal limit since 2012

· Marijuana or marijuana-type drugs were the most prevalent types of drugs found in drivers killed in crashes in MA from 2011 to 2015.

· Drivers using marijuana demonstrated decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, sleepiness and decreased motor skill coordination (NHTSA).

· Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own (NHTSA).

--New Bedford Police

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