Expect a lot of police on Latvia's roads over Midsummer

During the Midsummer festival, the State Police (VP) will carry out mass inspections in order to check for driving under the influence, the head of the VP Traffic Safety Administration Juris Jančevskis said on the “Morning panorama” broadcast of Latvian Television on June 22.

The State Police (VP) will reinforce its presence from June 22 to June 26.

"We'll do the work a little differently than usual. We will carry out checks en masse with a view to removing potential threats, drunk drivers," Jančevskis said.

This year, by June 14, the VP had identified 1,532 drunk drivers, most of which were heavily drunk (above 2.5 promilles) or without driving license, according to the VP statistics.

"Obviously, the change in legislation [foreseeing criminal liability] does not work, we already understood it at the beginning, but the overall number declined. In five months, compared with the previous year, there were 342 drunk drivers fewer. Certain changes have taken effect," Jančevskis said.

Over the four days of last year's Midsummer holidays, more than 100 drunk drivers were caught by police.

Other services also reminded the public about safety during the festival. Although there is rainfall on Thursday in Latvia, there is still a high risk of fire. “There are trees that have stood in the sun for a very long time. If you make a fire, don't make it sky-high if there is a forest in the vicinity. A dried-out maple can act as a fire ignition,” said Andris Soms, expert of the Nature Conservation Agency.

Deputy Chief of the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) Jānis Grīnbergs said that around waters, taking care of children at all times is the priority.

“[Children] cannot be left unattended for even a second. The statistics with drowning and problems around water are extensive. So look after [children] and think about what you're doing,” said Grīnbergs.

On the other hand, the head of the Emergency Medical Service (NMPD) team, Liene Plēsuma, emphasized moderation in the use of alcohol and everyday accidents. “NMPD must be called for choking events. In these festivities, there is an increasing number of cases of choking, overheating, and burns,” said Plēsuma. 

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