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GHSA News Release

December 17, 2013

Contact: Amadie Hart

States Committed to Detecting and Arresting Drunk Drivers During the Dangerous Holiday Driving Season

Drunk driving deaths increased in 2012; annual high visibility enforcement and awareness campaign aims to educate and protect the public

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The arrival of the holiday season marks the start of one of the most dangerous time periods on U.S. roadways. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, as many as 900 people could lose their lives in drunk driving crashes nationwide.

To combat this problem, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and its members, which include all 50 state highway safety offices, are joining with federal and state law enforcement officials to kick off the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization. The annual campaign combines high visibility enforcement with paid advertising and grassroots outreach to detect and deter drunk driving. It began December 13 and runs through January 1.

“We’ve made tremendous strides in changing the social norms associated with drinking and driving, but the problem is far from solved,” said GHSA Deputy Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “Alcohol-impaired driving claimed 10,322 lives last year, an increase of 4.6 percent compared with 2011. That’s an alarming statistic and one we’re committed to address.”

States are employing a variety of measures to address the problem, including calling for ignition interlock laws for all first-time offenders. Currently, 18 states have enacted these lifesaving laws, and GHSA continues to encourage other states to follow their lead. To assist in this effort, GHSA is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control on a long-term study to assess state ignition interlock best practices. The findings are expected to be available in early 2014.

GHSA also supports efforts to develop and test new in-car technology known as DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety). The system users sensors installed in a vehicle’s passenger compartment to measure blood-alcohol content by breath or touch to ensure a driver is below the legal .08 threshold for impairment. While the technology holds promise for saving thousands of lives annually, the research is still in the early phase of development. In the meantime, states are leveraging enforcement and education tactics to remind the public about the dangers of impaired driving. These include:

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About GHSA®:
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 Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.