Enforcement to focus on impaired drivers

The latest edition of the nationwide "You Drink, You Drive, You Lose," anti-drunk driving enforcement campaign begins today and runs through Labor Day.

In Nebraska, 48 law enforcement agencies are sharing nearly $306,000 in grants from the Office of Highway Safety to cover the overtime costs of putting more officers on the street, but state Highway Safety Administrator Fred Zwonechek many other agencies are taking part in the effort without grants.

Only 3 Panhandle agencies are among those receiving grants. The Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Office is getting $12,440...the Scottsbluff Police Department $11,760...and the Chadron Police Department $1,671.20.

The largest grant is nearly $28,000 to the Nebraska State Patrol, which will spread those funds across its six troop areas.

Troop E commander Captain Mike Gaudreault says there will be saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, and other high-visibility enforcement efforts intended to remind drivers to use caution as the summer travel season winds down and to "encourage" people who have been drinking not to drive.

Captain Gaudreault says continued road construction in several parts of the Panhandle also means extra attention is needed, and he's reminding motorists to obey the posted speed limit, always wear their seat belt and never drive impaired or distracted.

Impaired or reckless drivers can be reported to the Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline, when safe to do so, by dialing *55 from any cellular phone, or 1-800-525-5555 from any landline. Emergencies should be reported to 911.

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