The national drunk driving enforcement campaign runs from August 13 to September 1, 2014. The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement crackdown serves to highlight one of the most serious and devastating safety risks in the country today: drunk driving.
This year’s dates are centered around the end of summer and the Labor Day holiday weekend. Labor Day weekend in 2012 saw 147 drunk-driving fatalities—adding up to one alcohol-related death every 34 minutes. There were 390 accident-related deaths over this weekend in 2012, and one-quarter of those had a driver with a BAC of .15 or higher (almost double the legal limit in all states). Nearly half of all nighttime traffic fatalities over the 2012 Labor Day Weekend involved a drunk driver. Among all drivers killed in drunk-driving crashes over Labor Day weekend, 45 percent were between the ages of 18 and 34, representing the largest segment of drunk drivers in the U.S.
“We’re targeting this time period because holiday weekends bring a surge in drunk-driving,” states a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) news release.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that highly visible drunk driving enforcement campaigns can reduce drunk-driving fatalities by up to 20 percent.
“By working together, increasing public awareness and using a no-excuses approach to enforcement, we can send the strong message that drunk driving will not be tolerated,” states an NHTSA press release.
NHTSA urges police to follow several recommendations for the 2014 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign:
- Get the word out: Share media resources with partners and local media, and use signs to publicize the crackdown to all drivers.
- Get noticed: Hold a highly visible kickoff event to inform the public of the enforcement crackdown.
- Increase saturation: Add roving patrols and units in areas and at times when drunk driving is most prevalent (i.e. at night)
- Actively look for drunk drivers: Conduct sobriety checkpoints (if allowed in the given jurisdiction) where they will be most effective. If sobriety checkpoints are not an option, use other high-visibility enforcement techniques like enforcement zones or safety checks.
- Know the facts: Pinpoint specific enforcement needs and locations using local crash statistics.
- Reach out: Contact your state’s Law Enforcement Liaison to expand the reach of your campaign and involve local grassroots and community organizations.
- Be social: Use social media to your campaign’s advantage.
More than 10,300 people were killed in drunk-driving accidents in 2012. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and approximately one in three traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. One person is killed every 51 minutes due to drunk driving in the U.S. Over the past decade, drunk-driving fatalities have decrease 21 percent from 13,096 in 2003 to 10,322 in 2012. But unfortunately, driving under the influence continues to remain a nationwide problem; traffic fatalities due to alcohol impairment increased by 4.6 percent from 9.865 in 2011 to over 10,000 in 2012.