Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Bozeman Police Department
Working to Reduce Drunk Driving Crashes, Fatalities
BOZEMAN, MT As party-goers celebrate Cinco de Mayo with sombreros, mariachi music and authentic cuisine, many will also indulge with their favorite margarita or tequila, and then, unfortunately, choose to get behind the wheel. That’s why this year the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Bozeman Police Department are joining with others across the state and nation to encourage everyone to plan ahead this Cinco de Mayo and to never drink and drive.
“With Cinco de Mayo celebrations on the rise across the country, alcohol-impaired crashes, injuries and fatalities will also rise,” said Sheriff Brian Gootkin. “But buzzed driving is drunk driving, and is never safe or acceptable. So folks should plan ahead now to avoid the temptation on the big day.”
From 2007 to 2011, 38 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities that occurred each year around May 5th involved impaired drivers or motorcycle operators with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 and above, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
During the 2011 Cinco de Mayo holiday alone, 35 percent of motor vehicle fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 and above. A disturbing 80 percent of the alcohol impaired fatalities involved a driver or motorcycle operator with nearly twice the legal limit of .15.
Bozeman PD Captain McManis said that people can still enjoy the holiday and celebrations without putting their lives or the lives of other innocent victims on the line.
“When people start celebrating, they often aren’t thinking of how they will get home from the restaurant or a friend’s house, and they don’t realize how much they’ve had to drink and make a bad choice that ends in tragic consequences,” said Captain McManis. “That’s why we are reminding folks to play it safe and plan ahead.”
Statistics show 31 percent of traffic fatalities in 2011 involved an impaired driver. But death or injury are not the only consequences from impaired driving. When caught and arrested, violators often face jail time, loss of their driver’s license and it could cost up to $10,000 in legal fees, fines, and result in higher insurance rates.
“You should always designate a sober driver before the party begins,” said Sheriff Gootkin. “But, if you don’t plan ahead, and you’ve been drinking, please do not get behind the wheel. There are plenty of other alternatives that will keep you and others safe and out of trouble.”
Party-goers can call a friend or cab, use public transportation. The Late Night Streamline Bus schedule can be found at www.streamlinebus.com/routes-schedulesweekday-serviceweekday-service/latenight-service/
Sheriff Gootkin and Captain McManis said officers will be on the look-out for impaired drivers during Cinco de Mayo, and those who are caught drinking and driving will be arrested.
“We want to make sure that everyone lives to see, and enjoy, Seis de Mayo,” said Gootkin and McManis. “So we’re working hard to remind everyone that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving and to never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 30, 2013
CONTACT: Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin (406) 582-2125
Bozeman Police Dept. Patrol Captain Dave McManis (406)-582-2000