HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — With the Labor Day Weekend here, more drivers are on the road.
All those motorists could pose a safety risk when it comes to impaired drivers.
“Unfortunately, it becomes a big issue when it’s too late,” said Beau Evans, Traffic Safety Director for the City of Huntington when asked about impaired driving.
As families and friends get together for the holiday weekend, more officers will be on the road working to keep them safe.
That’s because Labor Day Weekend is the deadliest weekend of the year when it comes to impaired driving. Police officers know that, too.
“All it takes is one person to have a crash and cause a fatal incident,” said Cpl. Joey Koher of the Huntington Police Department.
Cpl. Koher is the DUI and Drug Recognition Expert Coordinator in West Virginia.
But while you traditionally think about DUI as “drunk driving,” that’s really not the case anymore.
“We went from just under 4% [in 2011] to 38% of our total DUI arrests were drug related,” said Cpl. Koher.
“Drug impairment is just as bad as alcohol impairment, and then when you mix the two together, it becomes a lethal combination,” said Evans.
According to the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, between 2003 and 2012, 3,673 people were killed in a fatal crash involving impaired driving in Ohio, 2,041 were killed in Kentucky, and 1,092 were killed in West Virginia.
The point here is very simple, drive sober or get pulled over.
“We’re not out there to get people. The real reason we pull people over is because we have reasonable suspicion or probable cause,” said Cpl. Koher. “I would rather get checked and be sent on my way because I’m not impaired than to be sitting there getting involved in a crash because somebody slipped through the cracks.”
Cpl. Koher says people should enjoy themselves this weekend, but they also need to make a plan to get home safely with a sober ride.