FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2011
Contact: Kara Macek
(202)789-0942, ext. 14
States Caution Drivers to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
WASHINGTON, D.C.—All too often, holiday festivities take a deadly turn when an individual chooses to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car. Last year, 415 people were killed in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver or motorcycle rider in the last half of December alone. And, according to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, January 1 is among the top five deadliest days on America’s roadways.
These grim statistics illustrate why state highway safety offices across the country are working hard to keep drunk drivers off the roads this holiday season.
As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization, Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA) member state agencies are teaming up with their law enforcement partners to detect and deter drunk drivers through highly visible enforcement efforts – such as sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols – coupled with strong public awareness campaigns.
The national mobilization is organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and implemented by state highway safety offices with the support of local law enforcement and other organizations. It runs December 16 through January 2.
GHSA strongly supports the national holiday drunk driving crackdown. According to GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha, “Any person who considers drinking and driving should know that police are out in full force watching for them. The time for warnings has long passed. If you drive drunk this holiday season, there will be consequences.”
In addition to stepped up enforcement efforts, states are purchasing paid advertising and conducting a variety of events to remind drivers that there will be zero tolerance for those driving drunk. These state media efforts support NHTSA’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over national advertising campaign.
Some highlights of state activities are listed below:
- The California Office of Traffic Safety’s public awareness campaign is built around "RUOK?," with the message, "If you have to ask if someone is okay to drive, then you already know the answer." The campaign features a large social media component involving Facebook, Twitter, and Quick Response (QR) codes.
- The Idaho Office of Highway Safety is rolling out a new "One Team" concept by encouraging law enforcement agencies in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana to coordinate their impaired driving enforcement efforts. Many rural law enforcement agencies in these states lack the resources to conduct effective high visibility enforcement on their own. By sharing resources, staff, and communication tools, “One Team” helps motorists realize that, no matter where they drive, law enforcement officers are out in full force looking for impaired drivers.
- The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety is partnering with the U.S. Postal Service on a pilot effort in to display illuminated “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” posters on Postal Service vehicles in the Omaha metro area throughout the month.
- The Utah Highway Safety Office is holding a media event at a local Christmas tree lot by “staging” a drunk driving crash to make it look like a drunk driver plowed into the lot – tipping down the chain link fence and knocking over trees. A formal press event is being held in front of the scene with a banner, “Remember, drunk driving and the holidays don’t mix."
A list of state activities can be found at: www.ghsa.org/html/issues/impaireddriving/holiday11.html
State drunk driving laws are at: www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/impaired_laws.html.
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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. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq. Follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.