Thursday, December 13, 2012
Contact: Karen Aldana, 202-366-9550
Auto Safety Agency Releases New State-by-State Drunk Driving Statistics
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today joined with local law enforcement officers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Governors Highway Safety Association to kick-off its holiday campaign to address drunk driving. At the event, NHTSA also released new 2011 state-by-state drunk driving statistics showing that in 2011, 9,878 people were killed in drunk driving crashes, including 395 during the second half of December alone.
"The holiday season can be an especially dangerous time on our nation's roadways due to drunk drivers – that's why law enforcement officers will be out in full force," said Secretary LaHood. "Our message is simple: drive sober or get pulled over."
NHTSA's new 2011 state-by-state drunk driving statistics show declines in 27 states, with four states leading the nation in declines in alcohol impaired driving fatalities. Texas had the greatest reduction with 57 fewer fatalities. New York, South Carolina and Tennessee followed, all with more than 30 fewer fatalities. Conversely, the three states with increases of 30 or more were Colorado, Florida and New Jersey. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have outlawed driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher.
"Thanks to the hard work of safety advocates and law enforcement officers across the country we're seeing declines in drunk driving deaths in many parts of the country – but there is still more work to do," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Ultimately, personal responsibility is critical to improving roadway safety and we urge all motorists to be responsible this holiday season and never, ever drive drunk."
This year's winter holiday enforcement crackdown is being supported by more than $7 million in national TV and radio advertising featuring NHTSA's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. The ads, which first premiered last summer, feature "invisible" law enforcement officers observing alcohol-impaired individuals and then apprehending them when they attempt to drive their vehicles. The ads are designed to raise awareness and support law enforcement activities in every state in an effort to reduce drunk driving deaths.
"High visibility enforcement efforts, like the 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' ad campaign, are a critical part of MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving," said MADD National President Jan Withers. "MADD is proud to join with NHTSA and law enforcement in urging everyone to make a sober designated driver a part of their plans this holiday season."
NHTSA also offers the following safety advice:
- Plan ahead. If you will be drinking, do not drive. Designate a sober driver or arrange another safe way home.
- If you are impaired, find another way home. Use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or contact your local sober ride program.
- Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone's life, and inaction could cost a life.