State and federal officials kicked off the latest Superblitz Tuesday, Aug. 16, to coincide with the national crackdown on impaired driving, themed “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
The Superblitz will run from August 19 through Labor Day, Sept. 5, and will correspond with the nationwide enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving and reduce roadway fatalities. The campaign will target young male drivers and motorcycle riders, who are the most common perpetrators of this deadly crime.
In 2009, more than 10,000 people were killed in U.S. highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with an illegal blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. That same year, 8,976 people between the ages of 21 and 34 were killed in motor vehicle crashes, 47 percent (4,206) were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes.
“New Mexico has come a long way in its fight against drunken driving, from one of the leading offenders of DWI in the nation to making its way out of the top 10 states for alcohol-related fatalities,” Transportation Secretary Alvin Dominguez said Tuesday. “As the last few weeks of the Safe Summer Project come to an end, we want to amp up our efforts, reminding drivers—whether in a car or on a motorcycle—that drinking and driving/riding will not be tolerated.”
In May state and local officials kicked off the Safe Summer Project that includes various traffic safety-related enforcement programs such as the 100 Days and Nights of Summer campaign, Click it or Ticket, Operation Buckle Down, Operation DWI, Officer Every 15 Miles, Get Your Clicks on Route 66 and others.
From June 1 through July 31, the state has held 120 sobriety checkpoints and 435 saturation patrols netting a total of 33,782 arrests and citations. A preliminary breakdown is as follows:
Suspended revoked licenses 794
Seat belt violations 4,403
Child restraint violations 521
Felony arrests 62
Fugitives Apprehended 302
Stolen Vehicles Recovered 4
In addition to increased law enforcement efforts, the NMDOT will place radio and television ads to increase motorcycle awareness. The advertisements, “Always look for motorcycles. It’s their road, too.” will feature the perspectives of both a driver and motorcyclist, and the consequences of not sharing the road.