Law enforcement plans summer-long blitz
Sun News Report
Article Launched: 06/01/2007 12:00:00 AM MDT

The Associated Press

SANTA FE Law enforcement agencies across New Mexico are launching a summer-long campaign to catch drunken drivers, speeders and motorists who fail to wear their seat belts.

Gov. Bill Richardson joined Thursday with public safety and transportation agency representatives in announcing the increased law enforcement initiative called "100 Days and Nights of Summer."

"Summer is a very busy driving time," said Sgt. Michael Kinney of the Doa Ana County Sheriff's Office. "We're trying to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths as a result of the increased traffic during the summertime. The idea is that by putting more officers out there, we will be able to do that. We'll be able to reduce crashes and injuries"

State, city and county law enforcement are participating and will begin their stepped-up patrols starting today. The campaign will run through Sept. 8.

State Police Chief Faron Segotta said 100 state police officers will work on the opening day of the campaign and that sobriety checkpoints will be conducted in each of the 12 state police districts Friday.

Throughout the summer, state police will operate 116 checkpoints.

"We'll be out in force," said Public Safety Secretary John Denko.

year, 484 people died in traffic accidents in New Mexico 191 of those involved alcohol. In 2005, there were 488 traffic fatalities and 194 of those involved alcohol.

"The summer months have always been the deadliest historically on New Mexico highways," Richardson said.

A total of 173 people were killed in highway accidents last year during June, July, August and September.

The governor said television and radio advertising on traffic safety would be aired as part of the summer-long campaign to reduce highway fatalities and drunken driving.

Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught said her goal was for a 10 percent reduction in highway deaths during the next 12 months. The agency, she said, has formed a special team that will inspect the sites of all fatal accidents to try to determine what could be done to prevent other accidents at those locations. For example, the department could declare a section of road to be a safety corridor, which means a doubling of fines for traffic violations.

Sun-News reporter Jose Medina contributed to this report