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Driving Drunk or High Puts Everyone in Danger

Of Traffic Fatalities Involving Children, Almost 1 in 5 Involved a Drunk Driver

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, but it’s also one of the deadliest times on the road. During the 2017 Labor Day holiday weekend, 376 people died in traffic crashes — 36% of those crashes involved a drunk driver. 

To help combat drunk- and drug-impaired driving, law enforcement officers nationwide have teamed up with NHTSA to participate in the annual high-visibility enforcement campaign. From August 14 through September 2, 2019, officers will be pulling over and arresting drunk and drug-impaired drivers with increased vigilance.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Although drunk-driving-related deaths have decreased over the past three decades, they still claim more than 10,000 lives per year. Drunk-driving statistics are essential to understanding the work we still have to do to stop these preventable deaths. 

Graph showing an increase in children 14 and younger killed in drunk-driving crashes
In 2017:

  • 10,874 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes — this is 29% of all traffic fatalities. 
  • 220 children 14 years old and younger were killed in a drunk-driving crash — that’s about one in every five children who die in a traffic crash.

If You Feel Different, You Drive Different – Drive High, Get a DUI

Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem on our nation’s roadways. If drivers are impaired by any substance, including prescription or over-the-counter medications, they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. 

“Almost everyone knows that driving drunk is dangerous, puts lives at risk, and can get you a DUI – but there isn’t the same awareness for drug-impaired driving,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King. “At NHTSA, we are working hard to raise awareness among the driving public of the fact that driving impaired by drugs is illegal in every state. We want to encourage people to think twice before driving.”


Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • If you are planning to drink, plan ahead for a sober ride home. It’s not okay to drink and drive, even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage. 
  • If you are using any impairing drugs, including marijuana, don’t drive, arrange for a safe ride home. Impaired driving is illegal, regardless of the source of impairment.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, safely pull over and call 911.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Let’s work together to make this Labor Day holiday safe and fun for everyone. Remember, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and If You Feel Different, You Drive Different – Drive High, Get a DUI.