FARMINGTON — The Police Department has received a state grant to help crack down on impaired drivers.
The department was recently awarded an approximately $10,000 grant from the Maine Department of Highway Safety’s Drive Sober, Maine! program, Sgt. Michael Adcock said. The grant allows the department to increase patrols and/or roadblocks for drunken drivers from December to September. An officer will be specifically assigned for OUI enforcement, he said.
Police Chief Jack Peck went before selectmen last month seeking approval for the department to apply for the grant. The department continues to apply for similar grants, including one for the Click it or Ticket seat belt program, he said.
The money allotted to each state is divided among applicants, he said.
Adcock is administering the program, which runs through Labor Day.
“The Farmington Police Department has always had a proactive approach when it comes to OUI enforcement,” he said in a release. They also have “zero tolerance” for driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Along with stopping impaired driving, the department wants to educate motorists and the public of the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Impaired driving is not only dangerous to other drivers and pedestrians, it can also be quite expensive for those caught doing it, according to the Maine Department of Highway Safety’s website.
For a first-time offender, the department estimated a total price tag of nearly $7,000. That amount included sums for towing charges from the scene, funds for bail bond, a lawyer and fine plus an alcohol education course, loss of work and about $4,000 for a three-year insurance surcharge.
The driver could also lose their license for up to 90 days. If they are caught driving during that time, they face jail, another fine and license suspension.
In 2010, 456 drivers were arrested for impaired driving during an enforcement period funded by a grant.