U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today kicks off the 2011 winter holiday impaired driving crackdown involving thousands of law enforcement agencies across America. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also releasing new data highlighting encouraging new statistics showing drunk driving deaths are down in many parts of the country.
New state-by-state data for 2010 shows a decline in drunk driving fatalities in 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Compared with 2009, California and Florida saw the largest reductions—with each declining by more than 100 fatalities last year. Despite these drops, drunk driving remains a major public health threat that claims thousands of lives every year, and more must be done to eliminate drunk driving. NHTSA data shows that last year, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, including 415 during the first half of December alone.
The winter holiday enforcement crackdown is supported by a national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over advertisement campaign that runs through January 3. The ad theme and slogan, which premiered for the first time this summer, comprise DOT's core drunk driving message for 2011–2016. The ads feature "invisible" law enforcement officers observing alcohol-impaired individuals unseen before apprehending them when they attempt to drive their vehicles. The ads convey the message that law enforcement officers are both omnipresent and vigilant in deterring drunk drivers.
KEY POINTS FROM THE DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER CAMPAIGN:
DOT is reminding all drivers to never get behind the wheel if they’ve had too much to drink.
It’s against the law in all U.S. states and the District of Columbia to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. For more information, and to access state-by-state data on the 2010 fatality rates, go to www.nhtsa.gov.