County law enforcement officers from multiple agencies will be out in force Friday through Monday as part of the annual nationwide St. Patrick’s Day holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on drunk driving.

The program will include high-visibility enforcement by Texas County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Houston and Licking police officers to curb drunk driving during the four-day period leading up to and including St. Patrick’s Day.

Sheriff James Sigman, Licking Police Department Chief Scott Lindsey and Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell said officers will be aggressively looking for drunk drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk.

Although it is illegal to drive drunk in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico (having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), many people around the nation get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol. The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscore the serious nature of the nation’s continuing drunk driving epidemic.

“Every year, about one third of all motor vehicle traffic deaths involve one or more impaired drivers or motorcycle operators,” Lindsey said. “In 2013, 218 people were killed and 666 seriously injured on Missouri’s roadways in accidents that involved at least one substance-impaired driver.”

The St. Patrick’s Day holiday is particularly dangerous. Last year, 412 DWI arrests were made statewide during the period.

“Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign reduces drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent,” Sigman said. “By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Texas County roadways safer for everyone throughout the holiday.

“If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you choose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”

If you choose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”

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