SOURCE: NHTSA

August 19, 2015 11:00 ET

Local Law Enforcement Will Be Out in Full Force to Catch Drunk Drivers

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwired - Aug 19, 2015) -  As summer winds down, local law enforcement agencies are ramping up enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on drunk driving. The 20-day, high-visibility campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is a partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to curb impaired driving and save lives. From August 21-September 7 (Labor Day), law enforcement partners nationwide will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with checkpoints and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce the toll of drunk driving.

And what a toll it is. In 2013, there were 10,076 people killed in drunk-driving crashes, almost a third of all traffic fatalities. Thirty-eight percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher), amounting to 161 lives lost. More than a quarter (27%) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher -- almost twice the illegal per se limit.

"Too many people think their actions don't affect anybody else," said Susan DeCourcy, Regional Administrator NHTSA, Region 7.  "They know it's illegal. They know it's wrong. But they do it anyway -- they make decisions as if those statistics just don't apply to them."

The reality is, people aren't invincible. Of the 10,076 people who were killed in impaired-driving crashes in 2013, 65 percent were the drunk drivers themselves. Those 6,515 drunk drivers planned on making it to their destinations, but they didn't.

In every state, it's illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. During the enforcement period starting August 21, there will be a special emphasis on drunk-driving enforcement. Local drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles, DUI checkpoints, and increased messaging about this reckless, preventable crime. "The number of people who are still drinking and driving is unacceptable," added Ms. DeCourcy.

Officials emphasize the preventable nature of drunk driving: "All it takes is a little planning ahead," said Ms. DeCourcy. "Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, don't drink and drive."

NHTSA has made it even easier to get home safely when you've been drinking. The new SaferRide mobile app (free from the iTunes store and Google Play) can help users call a taxi or a friend for a ride home. The app can even help you identify your location so you can be picked up. So this August and year-round, remember that there's no excuse for drunk driving.

Sample Tweets

  • Every 52 minutes, another person in the U.S. dies in a drunk-driving crash. It has to stop. #DriveSober or Get Pulled Over.
  • More than 10,000 people were killed in 2013 in drunk-driving crashes. \ #DriveSober or Get Pulled Over.
  • Aug 21-Sep 7, expect to see more cops and DUI checkpoints. If you drink and drive, expect to ride in the back seat of a police car.

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