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Extra patrols look for impaired drivers in the Flathead Valley

Posted at 3:40 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 18:00:07-05

COLUMBIA FALLS — Flathead Valley law enforcement are advising drivers to drive safe and sober this holiday season.

The extra patrols, grant funded through the Montana Department of Transportation, are aimed at looking for impaired drivers.

Columbia Falls Police Chief Clint Peters said the increased patrols will be on duty through the New Year.

“We use that funding throughout the year, there are required times where we know there will be an uptick in drinking and driving, so we use those funds specifically during these times to combat drinking and driving,” said Peters.

Approximately a third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involved impaired drivers.

State transportation officials report that more than 40% of traffic fatalities in Montana in 2018 were attributed to impaired driving.

Chief Peters says law enforcement see an uptick in drunk drivers this time of a year.

“Oh absolutely, and not just on Christmas or Christmas Eve, it’s this whole entire week when people have a little more time on their hands, a little more time off, it does lead to extra drinking and sometimes the mistakes of drinking and driving,” said Peters.

Consequences of impaired driving may result in jail time and up to $10,000 in fines.

Law Enforcement ask community residents to call 911 if they suspect an impaired driver on the roadways.