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It’s Time to Crack Down on Drunk Drivers

August 14, 2014 | National News

News Image National "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" Campaign Runs August 15-September 1

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in partnership with law enforcement organizations, governors, and state and local highway officials across the nation, is calling on you to help put an end to drunk driving.

Over 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes every year in the United States. Drunk driving is reckless and preventable, and it’s up to us to get that point across. Drivers continue to break the law by driving impaired, putting thousands of travelers at risk every day.

It’s time to get serious about enforcement. This year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility crackdown will run August 15 through the Labor Day holiday on September 1. We’re targeting this time period because holiday weekends bring a surge in drunk-driving. In 2012, there were 147 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes over Labor Day weekend (6 p.m. Friday through 5:59 a.m. Tuesday).

We want drivers to know that we don’t tolerate drunk driving. No excuses, no warnings. If drivers are caught driving impaired, they will be arrested. NHTSA data shows that drivers respond to this type of highly visible enforcement; past campaigns have resulted in a 20-percent decrease in alcohol-related crash fatalities. With one person, on average, dying every 34 minutes in a drunk-driving crash over the Labor Day period, that’s a lot of lives that could be saved.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign needs your participation to be a success. Your law enforcement and safety colleagues across the nation are counting on your support. Drivers in your area look to you for protection. If your participation in the Crackdown prevents one crash or saves someone from a serious injury or death, success can be claimed.

In preparation for this year’s crackdown, remember why increased enforcement is needed:

  • One in three traffic fatalities in America are alcohol-related.
  • Over the Labor Day weekend in 2012, one person was killed every 34 minutes, on average, in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash.
  • The same weekend, 390 people lost their lives in traffic crashes. A staggering 25 percent of those involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher – almost double the legal limit in all states and DC.
  • Among drivers killed in traffic crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2012, about 41 percent of them were impaired.

Action Steps

Use the following recommendations to carry out the 2014 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign in your area.

  • Get the word out: Customize the earned media material in this Product for Enforcement Action Kit (PEAK) and share it with your partners and local media. Use signs to publicize the crackdown to all drivers.
  • Get noticed: Hold a highly visible kick-off event to let the public know about the crackdown.
  • Increase saturation: Add units and roving patrols, especially at night, when drunk driving is most prevalent.
  • Actively look for drunk drivers: Conduct sobriety checkpoints (if allowed in your area) where they will be most effective based on local crash data. If sobriety checkpoints are not allowed in your area, use other high-visibility enforcement techniques such as safety checks or enforcement zones.
  • Know the facts: Draw from local crash statistics to pinpoint specific enforcement needs and locations. This will help you focus limited resources and make the most of your efforts.
  • Reach out: Contact your state’s Law Enforcement Liaison (LEL) from the list provided in this PEAK to expand the reach of your campaign. Also involve local grassroots and community organizations.
  • Be social: See the tips included in this PEAK so you can use social media to your campaign’s advantage.

Review your local crash data to determine where and when you will conduct highly visible enforcement. The chart below provides an example of day and time data that could be used to determine when to conduct enforcement.