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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2011

Contact: Barbara Harsha
202-789-0942, ext. 12

States Cracking Down on Drunk Drivers

September 2nd is the Second Most Deadly Day of the Year on Roadways

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Drunk driving is not an accident – it’s blatant disregard for human life. In 2009, nearly 11,000 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal alcohol limit. This is why GHSA's member State Highway Safety Offices are joining forces with the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and local officials to conduct the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Labor Day drunk driving crackdown.

During this year's crackdown, which began August 19 and runs through September 5, police in every state are out in full force conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to catch drunk drivers. This high visibility law enforcement is supported by $13 million in national and state advertisements.

GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey, Jr. notes that Labor Day Weekend is a dangerous time on our nation’s roadways. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, September 2 is the second most deadly day of the year. According to Betkey, “To keep our friends and neighbors safe, our partners in law enforcement will be out in force looking for drunk and drugged drivers.”

According to Betkey, ignition interlocks are a promising technology to deter drunk driving. These devices, connected to a car’s ignition, monitor the presence of alcohol in the driver and prevent the car from starting if alcohol is detected. Fourteen states and four California counties have made ignition interlocks mandatory or highly incentivized for all convicted drunk drivers, even convicted first-time offenders. Utilizing funding from NHTSA and the Centers for Disease Control, GHSA is conducting research to help states develop the most effective ignition interlock programs.

States across the nation are actively participating in the crackdown. Among state highlights:

A full list of state-specific crackdown efforts is available on GHSA's website.

For current drunk driving laws, visit: www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/impaired_laws.html.

To view the announcement from the U.S. DOT, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

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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, enhance program management and promote best practices. 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.