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Be wary of drunk drivers through the holiday season

It’s no secret that some people imbibe too much during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Not only do they take their lives in their hands when they get behind the wheel, they endanger you and your family as well.

While drunk driving accidents can happen anywhere, we can look to where Connecticut State Police have set up previous DUI checkpoints as a clue to where the troopers believe drunk drivers can be found.

Checkpoints and roving patrols

The CSP divides the state into three districts with 11 troops. During Labor Day weekend, the CSP announced these checkpoints and roving patrols for Troop G, which covers the Gold Coast area from Greenwich County to Stratford, Trumbull and Monroe counties and patrols I-95 from Greenwich to Branford counties:

  • The Route 34 connector westbound in New Haven
  • I-95, I-91 and Route 34 in New Haven
  • I-95, Route 8 and Route 25 in Bridgeport/Stratford/Trumbull
  • I-95 in Stamford/Norwalk/Greenwich
  • Route 15 (Merritt Parkway) from the New York state line to the Sikorsky Bridge.

Troop H, which covers the center of the state up to the state line, conducted:

  • A DUI checkpoint at I-84 in Hartford
  • Roving patrols along I-84 and I-91 in Hartford, West Hartford, East Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor.

The need is obvious: Although DUI arrests are down over a 10-year period, the Connecticut State Police still arrested 8,332 people for drunk driving in 2017. In the Bridgeport-Stamford Norwalk area alone, one in every five adults reports drinking excessively, and 35 percent of roadway fatalities involve alcohol.

What happens next?

In Connecticut, you are driving drunk if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. For those under 21, the BAC limit is 0.02 percent.

If you are arrested and convicted of DUI, you could spend up to six months in prison and face $1,000 in fines. If your prison sentence is suspended, you could face as much as 100 hours of community service. Your driver’s license could be suspended for up to 45 days and you could face the use of an ignition interlock device -- a device that measures your BAC before allowing you to start your car -- for up to one year.

The fines, prison time, license suspension and time spent with an ignition interlock device grow more severe with a second DUI conviction. A third conviction could mean your license will be permanently revoked and you could face up to three years in prison and court-ordered treatment.

The penalties are also increased if the DUI results in property damage, injury or death. In Connecticut, killing another person via DUI is considered second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle.

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