Belchertown police to increase impaired driving patrols

  • Belchertown Police Station FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/16/2019 5:40:44 PM

BELCHERTOWN — Belchertown police will increase impaired driving patrols in the first half of September with help from a $7,500 state grant. 

The department received the grant earlier in the year from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security's Office of Grants and Research, said Belchertown Police Chief Christopher Pronovost. Police have already rolled out phases that included “Click it or Ticket” and distracted driving prevention programs. The latest step supported by the grant will be a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which over 140 departments statewide will participate in.  

“This will allow us to hire some officers on overtime that will be dedicated to being out there and doing traffic enforcement, and looking for people who might be impaired,” Pronovost said. 

Higher than usual numbers of impaired drivers on the road are typical in early September, especially on Labor Day weekend, Pronovost said, noting that many people are traveling for the holiday and partaking in end-of-summer activities. The time period also coincides with students returning to school. 

The department runs the campaign each year, Pronovost said, and has seen “some success with it.” The department has also addressed issues such as speeding and aggressive driving over the course of the campaign, he added. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about one-third of all fatal crashes in the U.S. involve drunken drivers, with more than 10,000 people dying in such incidents each year. 

The federal agency also warns that marijuana can slow reaction time and impair cognitive processes, and can compound the effects of alcohol. 

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com. 


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