The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s theme this year is a warning to all drivers to drive sober at all times, especially through the holiday season.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Association , MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and the Governors Highway Safety Association are all supporting this campaign.  Local law enforcement agencies are also involved. 

Every day, no matter where you live, you see news reports of persons being involved in DWI crashes.  Regardless of the age of the driver, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland stated, “It is unacceptable and downright offensive that anyone would get behind the wheel drunk, let along have twice the limit of alcohol in their body.”  

Deaths resulting from crashes involving drunk drivers increased last year by 4.6 per cent, costing 10,322 lives – compared to 9.8658 in 2011.  The majority of drivers who were involved in those crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher.  This is almost double the legal limit.  Eight hundred and thirty persons were killed during last year’s holiday because of drunk driving crashes. 

It is a known fact that drunk driving is often a symptom of a larger problem: alcohol misuse and abuse. The more than 10,000 persons who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2012 account for one person every 51 seconds!  The cost of alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes totals an estimated $37 billion every year.  And those costs don’t account for the devastation caused to families whose loved ones are victims.

Before you take that holiday trip, think about defensive driving more than ever.  Your family could be the victims of a drunk driver.  Watch for swerving or any other suspicious driving antics that could endanger others.  Call 9-1-1 and report your suspicions to law enforcement. 

This crackdown campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” began December 13 and is enforced through the New Year’s holiday.  Over $7.5 million dollars have been spent for public advertising to raise awareness and support law enforcement activities in every state in an effort to reduce drunk driving deaths.  This message will be featured in a new public service announcement featuring MGM Pictures/Columbia Pictures’ RoboCop, in theaters February 12, 2014. 

This year, let’s lower those statistics by being more careful and watching out for the other guy.  If you plan to indulge in alcoholic beverages during parties, be sure you have a designated driver, or get someone to call a cab for you.  Do not attempt to drive your vehicle.  Don’t spoil someone else’s holiday.

Source: NHTSA