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March 07, 2011 (LITTLE ROCK) – The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office announced today that state, county and city law enforcement agencies will join forces March 11th – 20th and April 15th – 24th looking for drunk drivers with an emphasis on those under the age of twenty-one. Officers will conduct additional sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols as part of the continuing effort to apprehend drunk drivers. Motor vehicle crashes remain the number one killer of teenagers in America, and nearly one-third of the fatality crashes are alcohol related. Spring, the season of proms, school breaks and graduation parties, can be a dangerous time for young drivers. Alcohol related traffic fatalities typically rise during these months, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The consequences of a DWI or DUI are far more serious than an impaired driver may realize. Arkansas teenagers driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .02 and .07 can be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). If the BAC is .08 or greater, an arrest of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) will occur. Arkansas’ penalties for underage DUI are substantial and include the loss of driving privileges, court imposed fines and community service. The fine for an underage DUI ranges from $100 to $2000. In addition, there are attorney’s fees and significantly higher insurance premiums. If an underage driver registers a BAC of .08 or above, law enforcement officers are required to charge the violator with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), which is the same as an adult offense and has identical consequences of jail sentences, fines, court costs, community service, license suspension, higher insurance premiums and possibly other related costs. “There’s even a greater cost to pay in personal anguish that lives forever when death or serious injury has been the result of a drunk driver,” said Colonel Winford E. Phillips, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “We are asking teenagers to stop and consider all the consequences before being caught and arrested for drunk driving.” The current education campaign is designed to increase awareness of the dangers associated with teenage drinking and driving through heightened enforcement operations, paid media and school-based educational activities. “We want to be sure that young people get the message that underage drinking and driving is a crime that will not be tolerated,” Colonel Phillips said. For more information on underage drinking prevention, visit StopImpairedDriving.org or contact the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.