Area Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers will be part of the statewide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign that begins today and runs through Sept. 2. And those who get pulled over and are suspected of driving under the influence won't get a say in whether or not to cooperate with alcohol blood levels tests.
"During this period Troop F will be conducting several DUI saturation patrols on weekends," said Capt. Ronnie Hampton, Troop F commander and state crash team coordinator. "Once the county is selected 'NO REFUSAL' operations will be performed in those counties."
During "No Refusal" operation troopers use their authority under the 4th Amendment to provide probable cause affidavits to judges concerning those believed to be driving under the influence. If the judge, determines probable cause exists, he or she issues a search warrant for a blood sample from the driver. The search warrant allows OHP to provide documentary evidence (toxicology level) concerning intoxication to prosecutors.
"Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crackdown aimed at curbing drunk driving.
"On average there is one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality every 53 minutes across the country," said OHP Lt. Garrett Vowell, statewide impaired driving enforcement coordinator. "This tragic loss of life can be prevented if we get impaired drivers off our roadways."
In addition to the drunk driving operation, Hampton said Troop F troopers, who cover Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall and Murray counties, as well as Garvin and Pontotoc counties, will also be participating in "Traffic Safety Emphasis" operations. In fact, Hampton said the emphasis focusing driver safety started Thursday.
"We had three extra troopers assigned to Carter County (Thursday) working speed violations on Interstate 35. The 'Traffic Safety Emphasis' operations may only involve two or three troopers or as many as 10. They will be for short durations and then move to anther location," Hampton said. "As always we recommend everyone not drink and drive, always obey the speed limit and wear your seatbelt. If someone's believes they observe an intoxicated driver call 911 or *55 to report that."