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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2007

Contacts: MADD: Misty Moyse, (469) 420-4558
GHSA: Jonathan Adkins, (202) 669-9746
IACP: Wendy Balazik, (703) 836-6767 X264

MADD, GHSA and IACP Support DOT Launch of Nationwide DUI Crackdown “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.”

Travelers Share Roadways with 2.8 Million Drunk Drivers with Three or More Convictions; More than Half a Million with Five or More Convictions

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As millions of Americans hit the roads for the holiday season, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) stand united in support of the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) nationwide crackdown, Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. Comprised of stepped-up, high-visibility law enforcement including saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints, a multi-million ad campaign aims to increase awareness and ultimately deter drunk driving. Between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays, travelers share the roads with more than 2.8 million drunk drivers with three or more convictions and of those, more than half a million have five or more convictions.

With state highway safety agencies and law enforcement officers from around the country ramping up efforts to stop drunk driving, the nation’s capital set the stage to announce details of increased law enforcement efforts and a $7 million national TV and radio ad campaign. New data released today from NHTSA showed that while an average of 36 fatalities occur daily involving drivers impaired by alcohol throughout the year, the daily average jumps to 45 per day surrounding the Christmas holiday and even higher to 54 per day over the New Year’s holiday.

“With the help of law enforcement, MADD is looking forward to the day when we can eliminate this deadly crime once and for all,” said MADD’s National President Glynn Birch, whose 21-month-old son, Courtney, was killed by a repeat drunk driving offender nearly 20 years ago. The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving calls for increased law enforcement, such as sobriety checkpoints, mandating alcohol ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, exploration and development of advanced technologies to prevent a vehicle from being driven by someone who is drunk, and mobilization of grassroots support for the Campaign. “ By displaying a MADD red ribbon in support of enforcement and the Campaign, the public can take action that does remind other motorists to never drive drunk.”

GHSA Chairman Christopher J. Murphy noted that states across the country are increasing their efforts to stop the tragic epidemic of drunk driving. “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. isn’t just a slogan, but is a reflection of states’ increasing intolerance of drunk driving. The time for excuses and exceptions has long passed,” Murphy said. “States are funding overtime enforcement, drunk driving checkpoints and saturation patrols to keep the roads safe during the holidays.”

A detailed listing of state activities is available at www.ghsa.org.

“We know that sobriety checkpoints and other law enforcement efforts help reduce impaired driving and the needless deaths and injuries that go hand in hand with it,” IACP President Ronald Ruecker, Director of Public Safety, Sherwood, OR, said.  “Law enforcement officers will be out in full force this holiday season to crack down on impaired drivers, getting them off our nation’s roads and behind bars.”

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www.madd.org
www.ghsa.org
www.iacp.org

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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.