FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2012
Contact: Kara Macek
States Step Up Efforts to Stop Drunk Drivers
Holiday Season is Particularly Dangerous
WASHINGTON, D.C.—This holiday season, states are joining forces in a nationwide effort to stop impaired driving and save lives. The winter holidays are an especially dangerous time on America's roadways. In December 2010, 775 people (an average of 25 people per day) were killed in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver.
As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization, Governors Highway Safety Association's (GHSA) member state highway safety agencies are working with law enforcement and other local partners to detect and deter drunk drivers. This annual campaign combines high visibility enforcement with strong public awareness messages. It runs from December 12 through Jan 1.
GHSA Chairman Kendell Poole notes, "Too often there's an incorrect assumption that the drunk driving problem is solved. That couldn't be further from the truth, as we continue to lose our friends and neighbors due to drivers drinking too much and getting behind the wheel."
While the problem persists, alcohol ignition interlock laws for all first time offenders provide an effective countermeasure. Seventeen states have enacted these lifesaving laws and GHSA continues to encourage the other states to follow suit. To help states implement effective interlock programs, GHSA and its federal partners are in the middle of a three-year study to evaluate state interlock systems and make recommendations for improvements.
This year, states are taking a variety of creative approaches to remind the public of the dangerous consequences of driving while impaired. Below are just a few examples of these efforts:
- The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) has partnered with law enforcement agencies to deploy not only sobriety checkpoints, but also 35 special multi-agency DUI Task Force Strike Teams, hundreds of local DUI saturation patrols, and special warrant/probation sweeps targeting the 'worst of the worst' repeat offenders. Media blitzes and press conferences are taking place in every market. A Dec. 14 press event kicks off a four-city (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento) experiential marketing campaign, with eight police cruiser/taxi cab wrapped vehicles parking in bar districts and street teams conveying "pick your ride" messaging. Various social media channels are being used to spread the word, and more than 600 digital freeway message signs are reminding millions of commuters and holiday travelers to "Report Drunk Drivers - Call 911!"
- The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is running "Don't Drive if You're Tipsy, Buzzed or Blitzen" reindeer ads, using the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and the state's ARRIVE ALIVE logos. In addition, the state is doing a restaurant/pub takeover, focusing on the Missouri counties that represent 75 percent of the state's population and 75 percent of the alcohol-related fatalities, with reminders in the form of drink coasters, posters and window clings. Rural radio advertising is targeted to these counties as well. Throughout the campaign, Missouri is using its social media outlets, including running a Facebook photo caption contest. Nearly 250 law enforcement agencies in Missouri have received grant funds for overtime DWI enforcement activities, such as saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, and youth alcohol enforcement.
- The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) held its first 'Downtown 360 Flag Football Tournament' in Las Vegas. Teams in the target demographic market were reminded to "Pull the Flag on Drunk Driving." This campaign slogan was placed throughout the event. Retail giant Zappos is participating in a "DUI Day," in which local police "arrest" company managers and employees must post bail by answering a series of questions about impaired driving. Drunk Driving Awareness Month kicked off at the UMC Trauma Center on Dec. 7. This annual event brings high school students, local businesses, advocates and emergency responders together to raise awareness and educate drivers about the dangers of "one too many" this holiday season. Interactive educational items, such as the Seat Belt Convincer and Fatal Vision Goggles, are displayed during the event.
- The Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office (GHSO) and law enforcement across the state want to remind Tennesseans that during the holidays and throughout the year, drunk and or drugged driving do not mix. Tennessee law enforcement are increasing patrols across the state to ensure everyone arrives at their destination safely this holiday season. GHSO held a Dec. 5 press event to commemorate the lives lost in 2011 due to drinking and/or drugged driving with Christmas tree adorned with special ornaments to represent the victims. The event is being held in conjunction with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police state meeting, and the Tennessee Department of Safety will participate as well. In addition, GHSO is working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation on a Dec. 14 press event in Franklin, Tenn. to heighten the impaired/distracted driving message during the holiday season and highlight the use of digital message boards for raising awareness across the state.
More state activities are posted here: www.ghsa.org/html/issues/impaireddriving/holiday12.html.
View state drunk driving laws at www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/impaired_laws.html.
For information on the national campaign, visit www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober.
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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 or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.