ELYRIA — The Elyria Police Department was awarded nearly $45,000 in federal safety funding for 2013 to combat alcohol-related fatal and serious injury crashes and, along with other law enforcement, will step up patrols this weekend for the Super Bowl.
According to Elyria police, they a received $44,977.38 grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety and will use it to step up patrols during "blitz times," such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years, the Super Bowl, St. Patrick's Day, prom season, "Click it or Ticket," Fourth of July, "Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over" and homecomings.
The grant will be funded by overtime, according to a news release, and funds will come through the Office of Criminal Justice Services from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This weekend for the Super Bowl, Elyria police will be conducting blitz patrols on state Route 57, state Route 113, state Route 301 (North Abbe Road), U.S. Route 20 (Cleveland Street), Lake Avenue and East Broad Street.
Officers will be looking for drunken drivers, speeders, drivers who have suspended licenses and seat belt violators, according to a news release.
Lt. Travis Hughes from the State Highway Patrol said his department doesn't plan any DUI checkpoints this weekend but will step up patrols as well.
"Overtime has been offered to units here at the post," he said, adding that the overtime is federally funded as well.
He said troopers will concentrate on specific areas that have seen recent drunken-driving-related crash problems.
He declined to specify what roads will be targeted, saying that the determination is made on a "weekly or biweekly basis" based on information from troopers and their shift supervisors.
In a news release, the patrol warned that everyone should be sure to designate a sober driver if they plan to drink alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday.
From a Highway Patrol news release:
Super Bowl Sunday is one of America’s biggest and most entertaining national sporting events as friends and families gather to socialize and watch the game. During last year’s Super Bowl, the Patrol made 46 OVI-related arrests from Feb. 5, 2012, at 6 a.m. through Feb. 6, 2012, at 6 a.m. During this 24-hour reporting period, there were three fatalities and 193 injuries resulting from traffic crashes. One of the traffic fatalities and 16 of the injuries were from OVI-related crashes.
“While we want people to enjoy the big game, we want them to do so responsibly,” said Director Thomas Charles, Ohio Department of Public Safety. “We want everyone to take the appropriate steps to ensure they get home safely.”
Getting caught driving while impaired will earn you a costly penalty from law enforcement, and may even result in losing your driving privileges. For bars and establishments, over-serving or serving underage patrons could also mean costly fines, suspension or revocation of their liquor permit.
To help keep the roads safe this Super Bowl weekend, more than 81 local law enforcement agencies around the state will be conducting more than 1,925 hours of enforcement activity and 1,100 hours of saturation patrols, funded by federal grants provided through OTSO.
“We can’t fight the battle against impaired driving on our own — we need your commitment to make our roads safe,” said Colonel John Born, Patrol superintendent. “You can contribute to a safer Ohio by actively influencing friends and family to make safe, responsible decisions — like planning ahead to designate a driver and insisting that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.”