"You Drink, You Drive, You Lose" campaign highlights parents' loss

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Starting August 14th, law enforcement from across the state will be stepping up their efforts to stop impaired driving.

The "You Drink, You Drive, You Lose" campaign brought out state traffic safety experts from several agencies Wednesday morning, as well as people with personal stories on the aftermath of impaired driving accidents.

"He will not be a husband, a father, or a grandfather. His life was just taken so suddenly,” Teresa Groves said.

Teresa and John Groves lost their son Matthew only three weeks after his 21st birthday. A drunk driver hit him while he was helping a woman on the side of the road.

"You know we went through calling a funeral home, going to a cemetery, picking out a plot, picking out a gravestone,” John said. “I don't want anybody to have to do that. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy."

The Groves spoke at the Statehouse for the kick off of the annual enforcement campaign.

“There's a lot of sadness, there is some anger, but we are dealing with that as we do this.” John stated. “Whenever we come and speak it's actually more therapy for us than people understand."

As part of the campaign, patrols will be stepped up over the next 22 days to combat impaired driving, including a no refusal weekend. That means, if a driver refuses a sobriety test they will be issued an 'on the spot' warrant and then will be blood tested at the scene.

Traffic Safety Program Manager Chris Bortz says the blood testing is just another tool in the tool box that law enforcement or prosecutors can use.

"It’s important to keep in mind that blood testing is just a highlighted point [during no refusal weekend], law enforcement and prosecutors can do that anytime throughout the year," Bortz explained.

This year 2,200 people will be injured or killed by impaired drivers in Kansas. They say if you're going to celebrate, designate.

"You know people die every day, but this is preventable,” John said. “Just don't drive and go drink, just have a cab take you there and then have a cab take you home. If you can afford the alcohol, you can afford those few extra dollars."

The campaign runs from August 14th through September 2nd.