BIA’s Indian Highway Safety Program to Sponsor “Don’t Shatter the Dream” Initiative to Fight Impaired Drivers

BAT Mobile


PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The Great Plains Regional Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Indian Highway Safety Program has started a holiday safe driving campaign-which is underway now through January 1, 2013.  The “Don’t Shatter the Dream” impaired driving campaign unites the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal law enforcement agencies to send the message that driving while impaired will not be tolerated.  The initiative will include DUI Saturation Patrols, DUI Checkpoints and a public awareness campaign on the dangers of drunk driving.  As part of the campaign, a Breath Alcohol Testing mobile vehicle-also known as a BATmobile-will be used at various reservation locations across the state.  Mario Red Legs, who is the Special Agent in Charge in the BIA’s Office of Justice Services in Aberdeen, says his office borrowed a BATmobile from the BIA’s Rocky Mountain Region in Billings, Montana earlier this year.  It has already been utilized in the state and will also be put to use during the holiday safe driving campaign over the next few weeks.

Red Legs says the BATmobile makes it easier for law enforcers to process those who go through DUI checkpoints.  Usually, processing impaired motorists takes officers off the street for a few hours, but he says the BATmobile cuts that time significantly.

Red Legs says the BATmobile has proven itself in showing an increase in the number of people who use designated drivers.

In September, Senator John Thune sent a letter to federal officials, requesting permission to retain the BATmobile.  Red Legs says hopes are that the Great Plains Region will eventually have its own mobile alcohol testing vehicle which will serve the district which covers South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska.

Red Legs says the BATmobile is a great public awareness device.  He says a lot of people like the philosophy behind the vehicle-as it shows officials are doing something about drunk driving.  He says he believes many people on reservations know someone who has been impacted one way or another by drunk driving.  He expects the BATmobile to be seen on some of the state’s reservations the next few weeks, including Yankton, Standing Rock, Pine Ridge, and Cheyenne River.

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