With area schools soon letting out for Spring Break, local law enforcement agencies plan to be out in force to catch drunk drivers.
"During Spring Break and going into St. Patrick's Day, there can be an increase in drunk driving, so we try to increase our presence on the roadways," said Lt. Dan Norris of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.
Along with the sheriff's office, state troopers, Magnolia Police and Tomball Police will all be stepping up enforcement over the next week.
"Too frequently people choose to drink and drive during Spring Break, which is an extremely dangerous decision that often leads to senseless tragedy," said Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw. "Getting impaired drivers off the roads during Spring Break is a major priority for the department, and we also urge the public to make responsible decisions, such as designating a non-drinking driver or finding alternative transportation if they are impaired."
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office plans to have additional deputies working overtime, as well as using their mobile alcohol testing van in various locations.
Magnolia Police Depar-tment (MPD) officials said they will be working in concert with both the sheriff's office and the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, to combat drunk drivers.
MPD executive officer J.K. Seangal said that his department will be holding extended no refusal weekends. If a person is pulled over and refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, then a warrant will immediately be secured to draw that person's blood.
"These types of enforcements are very successful," Seangal said. "Montgomery County as a whole takes drunk driving very seriously. These efforts have actually deterred drinking and driving."
Meanwhile, Tomball police will be taking an overall traffic safety approach.
"We are going to conduct an enhanced traffic safety initiative," said Cpt. Rick Grassi. "That includes extra patrols to search for DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenders, seat belt violations and speeding."
Grassi said extra officers will be deployed to do saturation patrols around the city.
Norris said that drunk driving is a crime that occurs daily and crosses social and economic barriers.
"Education is so important to this effort," he said. "It's one of the laws that are so easy to follow if people just drink responsibly."