Story by Stella Childress, Contributing writer
The Murray Police Department began participation in the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” awareness campaign on Aug. 19.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one person dies every 51 minutes because of an alcohol-impaired collision.
The campaign was initiated by the NHTSA on Aug. 15. It will include instituting traffic safety checkpoints by more than 10,000 police departments across the nation.
A press release from the Murray Police Department listed possible checkpoints to be set up in Murray, but the specific locations will vary day to day.
Brant Shutt, sergeant at the Murray Police Department, said four to eight officers will be at each checkpoint, with one person responsible for making sure everyone is safe.
He said the checkpoints were not chosen at random.
“They are based on highway safety data,” Shutt said. “They are not just random.”
The checkpoints will ensure drivers are following traffic safety laws including proper registration, insurance and licensing, as well as checking whether seat belts are being worn.
Murray State’s Public Safety and Emergency Management is also involved in the campaign.
“Driving while impaired due to consuming alcohol poses a considerable risk for the safety and well-being of our campus community, including students, faculty, staff as well as visitors to the University,” said Jeffery Gentry, assistant chief of Public Safety.
Gentry said Murray State officers will be working in conjunction with the campaign by conducting safety checkpoints on campus.
“We would encourage each member of the campus community to download and use the LiveSafe app to alert Public Safety of any suspicious behavior that might be associated with drinking and driving,” Gentry said.
The checkpoints are in place to educate the community on drunk driving to decrease the fatality statistics not just in Murray, but across the nation.
“It’s not just a college campus issue, it’s a nationwide issue,” Shutt said.
The campaign will last until Sept. 5. Until then, drivers will go through checkpoints in Murray and on Murray State’s campus.