Idaho law enforcement prepares for 4th celebrations

By Reader Staff

Starting this week, regional law enforcement partners are working together to ensure the safety of North Idaho travelers and recreationists during the Fourth of July holiday with an all-hands-on-deck approach to targeting impaired driving and boating.

Marine Sheriff’s Deputy Rich Rembisz (left) and Boat Captain Kurt Poeschel (right) on the water. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.

While this patriotic holiday is a time of celebration for most, it is also one of the deadliest days of summer across the nation due to the operation of motorized vehicles while impaired.

Last July, there were 171 impaired driving crashes and 16 fatalities across our state, with two of those deaths occurring in North Idaho. Officers, troopers and deputies take DUI enforcement seriously year-round but will be mobilizing resources for enhanced patrols on highways and backroads alike from Monday, July 1 through Monday, July 8. 

The Office of Highway Safety provides grant funding opportunities for local police agencies to help enhance resources for increased patrols surrounding major holidays like the Fourth of July.

Meanwhile, with hot weather and an abundance of lakes and rivers, boating is one of the most popular recreational activities in the Idaho panhandle, but it’s not without risk. Every year marine deputies encounter impaired boaters who put themselves and others in danger after a few too many on the water.

This year, in conjunction with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and as part of the North Idaho DUI Task Force’s dedicated enforcement operation, police agencies will deploy marine patrols across all North Idaho waterways to target impaired boaters from Thursday, July 4 to Saturday, July 6.

Consequences of driving or operating a boat under the influence are largely the same as those of operating a vehicle, including the possibility of jail, boat impound, court fines and community service.

Plan ahead for a sober ride home. Authorities underscored that a sober driver is someone who has not had anything to drink at all, not just the one who has had the least to drink.

If you spot a drunk driver on the road, report it by calling 911 or *ISP. Always wear your seatbelt.

To help with planning for a safe ride from, or to, all your inebriating festivities, Watkins Distributing has sponsored a ride share promotion through Uber for a QR Code for Free Uber.

Limit $30 per use, locations valid within approximately 20 miles of Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, Wallace and Bonners Ferry from July 4-6.

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