AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety has received nearly $200,000 in federal highway safety funding for beefed-up patrols targeting drunken and drugged drivers during December and January.
The funds will be distributed among 42 Maine law enforcement agencies, according to Highway Safety Director Lauren Stewart.
Stewart said 31 percent of all of the fatal crashes in Maine in 2009 involved alcohol. That number dropped to 22 percent for the first six months of this year and the final numbers for 2010 are still being reviewed.
“Our message is simple: If you plan to drink, don’t plan to drive because there will be dozens of additional police officers on the road to help enforce that message,” Stewart said.
This year, Maine State Police received $40,678 — the largest share of the holiday enforcement funding. Col. Patrick Fleming, chief of the Maine State Police, said additional patrols by state troopers will take place throughout the state.
Ed Googins, chief of the South Portland Police Department and president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, urged the public to get involved when they suspect a drunken driver is on the road.
“Everyone can do their part in keeping our roads safe by calling 911 on a cell phone when they see someone impaired getting behind the wheel and police will take immediate action,” he said.
The funding recipients include Caribou Police Department, $4,800; Dover-Foxcroft Police Department, $5,000; Ellsworth Police Department, $4,704; Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, $4,256; Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, $ 4,000; Houlton Police Department, $1,280; Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, $5,000; Lincoln Po-lice Department, $1,380; Maine State Police, $40,678; Millinocket Police Department, $2,982; Presque Isle Police Department, $5,000; Rockland Police Department, $4,807; Skowhegan Police Department, $3,040; Thomaston Police Department, $4,800; Waldoboro Police Department, $4,980; Washington County Sheriff’s Of-fice, $3,500; and Waterville Police Department, $4,130.