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Southcentral Alaska DUI, Seat-Belt Patrols Step Up for State Fair

Published On: Aug 21 2014 08:10:54 AM AKDT   Updated On: Aug 21 2014 08:18:03 AM AKDT
Southcentral Alaska DUI, Seat-Belt Patrols Step Up for State Fair

As the 2014 Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, Alaska State Troopers and Southcentral Alaska law enforcement officers are stepping up enforcement of drunk-driving and seat-belt laws.

In a Wednesday statement announcing added patrols, AST spokesperson Megan Peters says Palmer troopers as well as Alaska Bureau of Highway Patrol members will be participating in increased traffic enforcement from Thursday through Sept. 1. She asks drivers who see troopers making traffic stops to leave the nearest lane if possible and reduce speed to 35 mph while passing, as required by state law.

“The Alaska State Troopers encourage motorists to keep safety the top priority no matter where they are headed,” Peters wrote. “Be sure to obey the Move Over law, slow down and give emergency vehicles plenty of room as you pass.”

Peters says the funding for the extra patrols, which will take the form of overtime worked by troopers, comes from a variety of state and federal sources.

“It’s the same troopers -- they’re just working additional hours,” Peters said.

According to Peters, the increased enforcement will cover both the fair itself and the subsequent Labor Day holiday. The initiative is also linked to the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign in play during the same time period.

APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro says in a statement on the DUI campaign, which began Aug. 13, that police have already seen four impairment-related driving fatalities this year. Officers will be conducting nearly 700 hours of extra patrols, funded by a grant through the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

“If you PLAN to drink -- plan NOT to drive,” Castro wrote. “And if you see a dangerous driver on the road, be REDDI -- Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately by calling 911.”

Troopers and APD officers, as well as Wasilla and Palmer police officers, have been given 5,000 coupons for free cookies at Holiday Stationstores. Peters says that the coupons, to be given to children who are found properly buckled into their vehicles, will be distributed during traffic stops.

“It’s going to let us have a positive interaction with a child,” Peters said.