Banner of The Nation's Top Strategies to Stop Impaired Driving

High-Visibility Enforcement

NHTSA’s objective is to work with State Highway Safety Offices, national law enforcement organizations, and other Federal agencies to engage additional law enforcement agencies in both periodic impaired-driving crackdowns and sustained impaired-driving enforcement throughout the year, and to ensure that enforcement efforts are highly visible and well publicized through paid and earned media support.

Periodic high-intensity and sustained high-visibility enforcement efforts, supported by a coordinated media plan, are proven effective countermeasures for reducing impaired-driving fatalities.  Checkpoint Tennessee, a year-long high-visibility enforcement effort conducted in the mid-1990s, resulted in a 20-percent reduction in alcohol-related crashes.  Similar enforcement and media approaches applied to seat belt use have resulted, on average, in 8-percentage-point increases in seat belt usage following just two weeks of enforcement.  

High-visibility enforcement programs, such as NHTSA’s Click It or Ticket seat belt mobilization and the You Drink and Drive. You Lose. national impaired-driving crackdown campaigns, affect behavior through general deterrence, by increasing the public’s perception that people who violate the law will be ticketed, arrested, convicted, and punished, and thereby persuading them to adhere to the law.  Moreover, these campaigns are more cost-effective when coordinated nationally, taking advantage of economies of scale from national media purchases and media events. Evaluation of the You Drink and Drive. You Lose. national impaired-driving campaign launched in 1994 showed a contribution to the decreases in alcohol-related fatalities in 2003 and 2004.

Re-energizing the enforcement efforts, in 2006, NHTSA launched a new tagline for the national impaired-driving crackdown campaign:  Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. Campaign materials are available for download at

More than 10,000 law enforcement agencies across the Nation commit to participating in the seat belt enforcement mobilization and national impaired-driving enforcement crackdown campaigns each year.  Special emphasis has been placed on conducting highly visible enforcement in States with especially high numbers and/or rates of alcohol-related traffic fatalities.  These States have committed to conducting highly visible enforcement activities during crackdowns and on a sustained basis throughout the year.