State Police and Norfolk DA stress importance of sober driving

In anticipation of increased car travel around the Fourth of July, state and local authorities today stressed the importance of safe and sober driving.

In New Hampshire this morning, Massachusetts State Police joined Maine and New Hampshire State Police to remind drivers that police will be out in force during what they said is one of the busiest holidays for car travel.

In Quincy, Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey and local police said they were trying to prevent drunken driving crashes throughout the summer.

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“There is no shortage of enforcement on the roads,” Morrissey said. “State and local departments dedicate resources to stop those who should not be behind the wheel. We are here today reminding members of the public that they have an equally important role.”

That role, the district attorney said, is for groups to assign a designated driver and for bartenders to stop serving patrons alcohol before they have had too much to drink.

Last month, Morrissey sent a letter to all licensed liquor establishments in Norfolk County requesting that they remind servers to keep an eye on customers’ consumption. Morrissey’s office distributed 7,000 “Observe, Don’t Over Serve” placards to the roughly 700 establishments and asked that they be placed where servers will see them regularly.

“Shutting a patron off can be an uncomfortable thing to do, but every server needs to know that their manager, their owner, their police chief, and their DA are behind them,” he said. “We’re hoping this sends the message to servers that they should blame us. Blame the district attorney, blame the police chiefs, if a customer is unhappy about it.”

In partnership with the Ensign John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, Morrissey’s office has also asked bars and restaurant to offer free soft drinks to designated drivers.

“If you see a Hero campaign sticker or placard in a local restaurant, they will serve you your soda for free, if you are the designated driver in your group,” Morrissey said. “If you want to do something to make your fellow citizens safer on this Fourth of July, be a hero, be a designated driver.”

Morrissey said his message is not that people should refrain from drinking, but rather that they should drink responsibly and make sure they get home safely at the end of the night.

“We are not saying ‘don’t drink’ or ‘don’t have fun,’” he said. “We don’t want to stop you from enjoying your day. We want to keep you from forever regretting your night.”