As Americans are celebrating the Labor Day weekend, law enforcement agencies from throughout the Midwest are focusing their efforts on keeping the roads safe by continuing their crackdown on impaired drivers. From now through September 5th over 10,000 law enforcement agencies are participating in the nationwide crackdown with over 2,400 involved from the Midwest.
“The problem of impaired driving is a serious one and is still one of America’s deadliest crimes,” according to Michael Witter, Midwest Regional Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “While data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in America fell from 2008 to 2009, the numbers are still too high. In 2009 alone, 10,839 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal limit,” said Witter.
“That’s why from now through September 5th law enforcement agencies throughout the country will support an intensive crackdown on impaired driving known by its new tag line, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” Witter continued. “According to the latest data, nearly one third of fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC above the legal limit of .08 – an average of one fatality every 48 minutes,” he continued.
“All too often, innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones due to this careless disregard for human life. Because we’re committed to ending the carnage, we’re intensifying enforcement during the crackdown. We’ll be especially vigilant during high-risk nighttime and weekend hours when impaired drivers are most likely to be on our roads,” Witter said.
“Our message is simple and unwavering. If we find you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions,” Witter continued. “Even if you beat the odds and walk away from an impaired-driving crash alive, you should be aware that the consequences of driving while impaired can still virtually destroy your life. The trauma and financial costs associated with the involvement in a fatal crash can change your life forever. Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk,” he emphasized.
Witter encouraged motorists to remember the following guidelines for enjoying a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing their own lives and the lives of the others who may be on the road:
· Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
· Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
· If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
· Use your community’s Sober Rides program.
· Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear on your motorcycle is your best defense against an impaired driver.
· If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.
“So remember, no matter what you drive—a passenger car, pickup, or motorcycle—if you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested. In other words Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” he concluded.