Hingham Police are warning would-be partygoers that officers will be out in force during Super Bowl weekend with an eye toward catching drunk drivers.
According to a departmental release, Hingham police will have additional officers on duty from Friday night through Monday morning.
“We want everyone to be safe and enjoy the game” said Traffic Sergeant Steven Dearth in a release. “But for those drivers who don’t plan ahead, be warned. If you chose to drink and drive, we’ll be looking for you.”
The additional patrols are courtesy of a $1,000 federal community policing grant, which allocated $11,000 to Hingham in 2009 to be spent on community policing activities over four years.
Like saturation patrols during Thanksgiving and a sobriety check point during the summer, the money has gone a long way to help combat drunk driving.
As before, patrols will concentrate on locations where drunk driving crashes and arrests have happened previously, with the intention of removing impaired drivers from the roads before a crash occurs.
According to Dearth, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that on Super Bowl Sunday in 2010, almost half of the fatal crashes happening from 12:01 a.m. on Sunday through 5:59 a.m. on Monday involved impaired drivers, who all had a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or greater.
While officers are on the road, they'll also be enforcing seat belt use.
“Officers see every day that seat belts reduce injuries and save lives,” Dearth said. “It’s your best defense against a drunk driver.”
Even if the drivers who are stopped are not impaired, any driver and their passengers who are stopped and not buckled will be cited, Dearth said.
Hingham Police are hoping to combat drunk driving in other ways – mainly with the help of local drinking establishments.
Over 20 Hingham restaurants or bars are participating in the Designated Driver Program.
Under the program, patrons will be served free non-alcoholic beverages if patrons identify themselves as a Designated Driver, are with at least one other person, and do not consume any alcoholic beverages.
For a list of those restaurants, click here.
All these programs have been working to reduce drunk driving in the town – the amount of drivers arrested in Hingham for drunk driving was reduced by 18 percent from 2011 (92 arrests) to 2012 (75 arrests).
Even with additional patrols on the road, Hingham Police are encouraging motorists to call in any suspicious driving behavior by calling 9-1-1.