Clark County traffic blitz to target drunk drivers

More deputies and police will be patrolling city and county roads until the end of the Labor Day weekend because of a nationwide campaign to crack down on drunken driving.

Drivers across Clark County might notice more law enforcement on the roads as the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over sweep begins Friday and runs through Sept. 5.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funnels money to states to address traffic-related deaths. The money will fund extra saturation patrols, meaning more patrol cars out on the roads looking for possible drunk drivers, Lt. Tom Zawada of the Springfield Police Division said.

Springfield police, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol Springfield post and Enon police will all be participating in the crack down.

“We try to staff as many hours as possible,” Zawada said about the voluntary overtime patrols that will be on the streets during the blitz.

The grant will cover up to 63 extra hours of patrols for Springfield police and 100 hours for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, said Lt. Dusty White with the sheriff’s office.

Officers will look for drivers who are under the influence, speeding or driving recklessly, police said.

During the campaign, police, deputies and local safety agencies will also stress the importance of securing a designated driver if you plan on drinking, Zawada said.

Springfield police investigated 55 alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes in the city last year, he said.

State troopers have made 315 OVI stops across the county so far this year. In 2015 there were nine OVI-related fatal crashes in Clark County, according to state data.

“Our officers usually stop a couple of OVIs a week,” Enon Police Lt. Mike Holler said.

The Drive Sober campaign is one of two nationwide campaigns funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration throughout the year. The Click it or Ticket campaign is in the beginning of summer and Drive Sober at the end.

Officers will use zero tolerance for speeding, alcohol and seat belt violations during the campaign, police said.