Grant funds overtime to stop underage drinking

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Oak Bluffs police have won federal funds that will allow officers to work overtime to enforce alcohol laws.

The $5,000 grant will provide money for compliance checks, stings, party patrols, and surveillance.

The grant is one of 30 awarded through the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

“Any loss on our roadways is one too many,” said Oak Bluffs police lieutenant Tim Williamson. “This program will help to reduce impaired driving by our community’s underage population.”

In its press release, police cite a National Highway Safety Transportation Association study which found that in 2008, 31 percent of the 15- to 20-year-olds killed in traffic accidents nationwide had some amount of alcohol in their blood. The study also shows drinking also makes it less likely that young drivers will wear seat belts. Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes after drinking, 73 percent were not wearing safety restraints.