Police in South Estonia caught altogether 1,732 drunk drivers this year. More than 600 of them were caught thanks to people noticing suspicious behavor and calling the authorities.
Police officers in South Estonia in 2017 caught a total of 686 drunk drivers in Tartu County, 354 in Võru County, 221 in Viljandi County, 179 in Jõgeva County, 164 in Valga County, and 128 in Põlva County, according to the South police prefecture.
Responding to calls, police caught 345 drunk drivers in the Võru, Valga and Põlva counties in total, another 204 in the Tartu and Jõgeva counties, and 63 in Viljandi County.
Major Alvar Pähkel of the South prefecture said that the contribution of each person is important with traffic safety. "It is clear that the police with its forces cannot get to every street corner or in front of every village shop, where a person who has consumed alcohol sits behind a wheel and turns into a traffic terrorist. Every pair of eyes is all the more important because of that, as they see the dangerous situation and reach for the phone. Dialling the emergency number and notifying of a driver suspected of driving while intoxicated is the simplest way of being an envoy of traffic safety," Pähkel said.
He added that the police would like to thank all those who alert them of drunk drivers and thus increased traffic safety. "We are especially grateful for those callers who are able to follow the suspected intoxicated driver if needed and thoroughly describe their direction of movement to the police. This especially in larger cities, where the driver may for some reason remain unnoticed to a reacting patrol, or could hide deliberately by turning into a narrower side street," Pähkel said.
He added that the number of calls has been increasing gradually, which unequivocally indicates that people are less and less tolerant towards intoxicated drivers in traffic.
More police officers than usual would be patrolling the streets during the holiday season as well as the turn of the year, and check drivers where needed, Pähkel said.
Editor: Dario Cavegn