State police discuss drunken driving enforcement - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

State police discuss drunken driving enforcement

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With New Year's Eve right around the corner, Massachusetts state police are reminding drivers that they will be out in force to combat drinking and driving.

At a press conference Friday, police were joined by Barbara Riley, whose son was killed by a drunken driver.

"The hole in your heart never closes, and that's one of the reasons why I can't impress upon people enough - do not drink and drive," said Riley.

Riley's 19-year-old son Michael was killed in 2008.

"The loss is just, I just miss him to this day," said Riley.

And as New Year's Eve, a holiday notorious for drinking, approaches, Riley decided to join forces with the state police in an effort to stop people from getting behind the wheel drunk.

"Whether you're young, you're old, you're middle aged, do not drink and drive," said Riley.

State police have amped up their coverage this holiday season as part of their Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative. The statewide effort began on Dec 12.

"The Massachusetts State Police is committed to proactive enforcement of motor vehicle laws on our state highways," said state police superintendent Col. Timothy Alben. "Our goal is to remove dangerous and drunken drivers from our roads before they hit anyone and cause a tragedy."

So far this year the state police have arrested almost 5,000 people for drunken driving. That's an increase of around 1,000 from the same time last year. And as the New Year approaches, police are urging the public to make smart decisions.

"Plan ahead. If you are drinking, do not drive. Designate a sober driver or arrange another safe way home," said Karen Wells, the Under Secretary of Law Enforcement.

"It's a small price to pay - a taxi ride will save somebody's life," said Alben. "And we want everyone to think about that going into Monday night."

Back in March, 200 new troopers joined the state police. Those additional members are helping the force to increase their coverage throughout the holiday.

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