Beginning today through January 2, state and local law enforcement agencies are participating in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” mobilization effort sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Ann Whitehead, safety program manager for the Arkansas Highway Safety Office, said they are partnering with 300 packaged liquor stores to get the word out. “We have window cling-ons with the logo on them,” she said. Customers will be given these to display on their vehicles.
Whitehead said mobilizations also happen during Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends.
The 17 day Drive Sober campaign is designed to reduce the incidents of drunk driving on city streets, county roads and state highways. Arkansas law enforcement officers will be conducting supplemental sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to identify and arrest intoxicated drivers.
Colonel JR Howard, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative said law enforcement will be working overtime during the holidays to keep Arkansas roadways safe. “Our heightened presence should remind all motorists to drive sober and not endanger themselves, their families or other motorists,” he said.
It is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a blood alcohol concentration(BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
During 2009, nearly 11,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with illegal BACs, according to the latest NHTSA statistics in Arkansas, of the 585 people killed during 2009, 168 people(29%) were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers.
Howard said if you choose to drink and drive, you not only endanger your life and the lives of others, but you can jeopardize your future. You can loose your driver’s license. your job, and money in fines, court costs and higher insurance rates as well as face possible imprisonment. Even refusing a BAC test will cause you to lose your license on the spot and have your car impounded.
The Arkansas Highway Safety Office offers these simple tips for a safe holiday season:
If you are planning to drink alcohol with friends, designate a sober driver before going out.
If you’re impaired, do not drive. Call a taxi or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
Promptly report impaired drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement.
Wear your seat belt because it is your best defense against impaired drivers.
And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take the keys and help them safely get to their destination.
For more information on the” Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.