The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Aug. 21 launched this year’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which will involve more than 10,000 law enforcement agencies across the country.
Officers will be out in force through Labor Day, zeroing in on drunk drivers. There will be zero tolerance for drivers caught with a BAC of .08 or higher – the legal limit, NHTSA said.
The crackdown, which runs through Sept. 7, is supported by $13.5 million in national advertising funds from NHTSA.
“Drunk driving is deadly, it’s against the law, and despite years of progress, it’s still a problem,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With the help of law enforcement around the country, we’re getting the word out: If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive, because if you do, you will be stopped, you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted.”
While the number of drunk drivers on the road has dropped sharply, motorists are still at risk for encountering someone driving drunk at any time of day. That risk rises exponentially between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. During the Labor Day period in 2013, half of all the fatalities at night involved drunk drivers, as compared to 14 percent during the day, according to NHTSA.
“Targeted enforcement campaigns are an essential element in our strategy to save lives and reduce crashes, and they have helped sharply reduce the number of drunk drivers on our roads," said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “But too many drivers continue to risk their lives and the lives of others by getting behind the wheel drunk. Our message is clear: drive sober, or get pulled over.”
Drunk driving remains a serious public health problem. Alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2013. Of the 10,076 people who died in drunk driving crashes that year, 68 percent were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 or higher – nearly twice the legal limit.
Click on the photo or link below the headline to watch a TV public service announcement that's part of this year's campaign.