banner - Grassroots Support for Impaired-Driving Law Enforcement Crackdown Efforts

Introduction

In 2004, 16,694 Americans died in alcohol-related crashes, and another 248,000 were injured. 1 2    While there have been slight decreases over the past two years, there is still someone killed almost every half hour.

One of the most effective ways of stopping this problem is through law enforcement, and not just law enforcement, but high-visibility law enforcement.   When the perceived risk of getting caught goes up, the likelihood that people will make the fatal decision to drink and drive decreases.   This general deterrent effect can come only when enforcement is known about and feared.

This is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a You Drink & Drive. You Lose. national crackdown campaign - to increase the general deterrent effect of enforcement by establishing a time when enhanced enforcement efforts are combined with paid advertising to raise visibility and create a strong general deterrent effect.   National crackdowns, using the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. campaign, were conducted in July and December of 2003, and around Labor Day in 2004 and 2005.   In 2006, a new tagline was created for the national campaign - Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.  NHTSA also supports sustained high-visibility enforcement efforts that maintain high levels of activity and are supported by publicity at high-risk times across the country throughout the year.

These efforts, like the Click It or Ticket mobilizations that promote safety belt use, have an impact on the motoring public.   Since these enforcement efforts began, safety belt use has increased to an all-time high of 82 percent 3  and impaired-driving fatalities decreased in both 2003 (by 2.9%) and 2004 (by an additional 2.4%); the first decrease since 1999. 4 

However, law enforcement agencies have only limited resources and face many critical priorities.   What steps can be taken to support law enforcement and help them with these important lifesaving activities?

MADD strongly supports high-visibility law enforcement efforts and sought to identify ways in which its army of volunteers could help law enforcement in these activities.   In 2003 and 2004, MADD entered into a cooperative agreement with NHTSA to help support law enforcement during the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. national crackdown periods.   The goal of the cooperative agreement was for MADD, through its State and local chapters, to take tangible and innovative steps to support law enforcement during the crackdown periods and maximize the impact of the crackdowns.

Many strategies were tried.   Not all of them worked, and there were some bumps in the road along the way, but patterns emerged as to what did work and could be replicated in other locations by MADD or other community or grassroots organizations.   This report identifies these patterns and highlights the strategies that seemed to work best.   Further details on the strategies undertaken in each State are included in Appendix A.

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1 Blincoe, Lawrence, et al. “The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000.” Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2002.http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/economic/EconImpact2000/

2 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  “Traffic Safety Facts 2004: Alcohol.” DOT 809 905. Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2005. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSF2004/809905.pdf.

3 Glassbrenner, Donna.  “Safety Belt Use in 2005 - Overall Results.” DOT 809 765.  Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2005. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/RNotes/2005/809932.pdf

4 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  “Traffic Safety Facts 2004: Alcohol.” DOT 809 905. Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2005. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSF2004/809905.pdf.

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