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Police Crack Down on Drunken Driving

As the people of Greenwich are preparing for those last summer BBQs and get-togethers, the Greenwich Police Department wants everyone to stay safe during the annual crackdown on driving drunk to coincide with the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

"There are two main times of the year that we see a spike in car crashes — Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend," said Sgt. John Slusarz of the traffic section. "When there is a big increase in parties happening, there's always a big increase in drunk driving."

The police department is joining other law enforcement agencies nationally in support of a zero tolerance policy for drunken driving from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6. As part of the "Drunk driving: over the limit, under arrest" campaign from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the department received a grant from the state to step up enforcement.

Slusarz said 10 additional officers will be working overtime for traffic enforcement as well as checkpoints on Delavan Avenue, East Putnam Avenue and West Putnam Avenue. These areas were chosen as a result of high accident rates, he said. "The whole idea of this is to create community awareness," said Slusarz. "The goal is to bring down statistics and make the roads as safe as possible."

It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. According to the police department, nationally, 32 percent of fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involved a driver who was over the legal limit. A total of 24 fatalities because of car crashes occurred within the town from 2002 to 2009.

Consequences for violations include jail time or loss of driver's licenses in addition to higher insurance rates.

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