Recently the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the launch of a new nationwide campaign called ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’. The campaign uses increased law enforcement during the hours of midnight through 3am, to target the time when drunk driving accidents are most frequent.
The nationwide initiative kicked off Labor Day weekend with approximately 200 local communities across Massachusetts participating in the campaign. These communities are cracking down on impaired driving by increasing the number of officers on the road looking for impaired drivers.
“Law enforcement officers across the country are out in force, cracking down on anyone who breaks the law and drives drunk,” said the NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “If you’ve had too much to drink, don’t even think about getting behind the wheel. You may not see them, but they will see you. Don’t risk it.”
The NHTSA uses a three pronged strategy to discourage drunk driving:
- High –visibility law enforcement with supporting communication campaigns.
- Enhanced prosecution and adjudication.
- Medical screening and brief intervention for alcohol abuse problems.
“While we have made great strides in reducing drunk driving over the years, tragically, drunk driving remains one of the leading causes of death and injury on America’s roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Through our new national advertising campaign and stepped up law enforcement actions, we’re sending a powerful message to the American driving public — Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
Statistics from the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- One in four of the nearly 11,000 people killed in a crash involving a drunk driver in 2009 died between the hours of midnight and 3am. (That breaks down to one fatality every 23 minutes.)
- One in three drivers aged 21 to 24 years old involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired. Drivers aged 25 to 34 years old were the second most likely to be involved in these types of crashes.
- The next worst times of day with particularly high percentages of alcohol-impaired crashes were 9PM to midnight and 3am to 6am.
- One in three Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime.
- America has more drunk drivers than most countries have people.
While the initiative began Labor Day weekend, the NHTSA plans to use this campaign through 2016. You can bet that police officers will be out in full force over each holiday weekend and during high risk times of the year.
Think of what you are risking before getting behind the wheel of your car while impaired. Assuming the worst case scenario is that you are pulled over, the consequences include: jail time, loss of your driver’s license, increased insurance rates, attorney fees and court costs.