Posted: Nov 28, 2012 8:10 PM by KXLF Media Center
There were 171 DUI citations issued in Butte-Silver Bow County this year, according to Sheriff John Walsh. That number has decreased by nearly 50 citations compared last year.
"People are understanding that it's no longer something that's going to be tolerated," Walsh said.
The Montana Sobriety 24/7 Program is making all the difference. The program was enforced across Montana in October.
"Since the 24/7 program began I think we were in the area of 14,000, a little over 14,000 tests," Walsh said. "Of that only 48 to 50 have actually failed, so that's great. Basically people are taking responsibility for their actions."
Walsh said educating young people is where law enforcement can make an impact. People ages 16 to 21 are the age group most involved in injuries and fatalities caused by DUIs.
"Making sure people understand that drinking and driving is not a rite of passage and it's not something that we are going to walk away from," Walsh said. "We are going to enforce this to the best of our ability and have in the past and hopefully will in the future."
People in Butte-Silver Bow are making an effort to find an alternate way home when they have consumed alcohol, according to Walsh. Law enforcement has found that people are calling a friend for a ride, taking a taxi, or walking home when they aren't in a state to drive home, however, it's a never-ending battle.
"We have to continue that fight because there is always going to be somebody else that because of their addiction to alcohol is going to get behind the wheel," Walsh said. "We're going to have to somehow take that person off the road, be it by education or by enforcement."
Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement will be increasing their patrols this holiday season.