The 2016 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign begins Friday and runs through Labor Day weekend, ending Sept. 5.
The Minden Police Department is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration on the campaign and is beefing up patrols with a focus on drunk driving. Drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles, sobriety checkpoints and increased messaging about the dangers of drunk driving.
“People need to understand that drunk driving is not only deadly, but it is illegal,” Police Chief Steve Cropper said. “Drunk driving is a massive problem in the United States with more than 10,000 people dying annually. Drivers need to pay attention to their own driving, but also to others on the road who could be driving drunk. It is your business. If you think you see a drunk driver, call us and let us know.”
During the 2014 Labor Day holiday weekend, according to the NHTSA, on average 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers, which was the highest percentage in more than five years from 2010 to 2014.
Nighttime proved to be the most dangerous time to be out on the roads. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday, 83 percent of drunk-driving crash fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m., as compared to half of all drunk-driving crash fatalities throughout the rest of that year.
Additionally, 40 percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend in 2014 involved drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations – BACs – of .08 or higher), amounting to 162 lives lost. More than a quarter (28 percent) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher – almost twice the legal limit.
Of the 9,967 people who were killed in impaired-driving crashes in 2014, 64 percent were the drunk drivers themselves. Those 6,391 drunk drivers thought they would make it to their destination, but they didn’t.
“There are people who like to pretend that certain laws don’t apply to them, but just to be clear: in every state, for every person, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher,” Cropper said.
“This is an unacceptable problem. Drunk driving is selfish and dangerous. We want to increase awareness with this campaign, but also see lasting results of decreased drunk driving.
“Please, please plan ahead before you go out,” he continued. “Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, do not drink and drive.”
NHTSA has made it even easier to get home safely when drinking, with the free SaferRide mobile app, available through iTunes and Google Play. The app allows people to call pre-selected contacts or a taxi, and also identifies their location so they can be picked up.