Labor Day marks the end of summer and a last chance for a long weekend filled with cookouts, beach trips, and other outdoor fun. If your Labor Day weekend involves getting behind the wheel, drive sober. As this holiday is one of the most dangerous on our roads, state and local law enforcement will be making a special effort leading up to and through the Labor Day holiday (August 17 – September 3) as part of the Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
It is illegal everywhere in the United States to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Yet, almost every year, about one-third of all deaths on our roads involve drunk drivers. In 2016 alone, 10,497 people were killed in preventable drunk driving crashes. Last year, nearly half of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period were legally drunk.
During Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over you’ll likely see advertisements in your community reminding you about the dangers of driving drunk. Police in your community will back up that message by identifying and arresting drunk drivers to protect us all from harm. After they slap on the cuffs, drunk drivers will get hit with another price: about $10,000 in fines, increased insurance costs, and other expenses.
This year, we’re expanding our message about impaired driving to include drugs. Police conducting traffic stops tell us that they’re seeing more and more drivers under the influence of drugs. It’s also what we’re seeing in the data: the number of drivers killed in crashes who tested positive for marijuana doubled from 2007 to 2015. New ads will remind drivers that it’s illegal to drive impaired by any susbstance, regardless of whether its sale is legal in your community or it was legally prescribed. As the ad says, “If you feel different, you drive different. Drive high, get a DUI.”
NHTSA will also be spreading the message about drug-impaired driving on social media. On our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, we’ll be sharing video, infographics and other material to highlight the deadly consequences of driving while impaired by drugs, along with partners like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Destructive Decisions to spread the word far and wide.
There’s no excuse for driving while impaired. Not when smartphones put a sober ride at your fingertips. With a ride sharing app or a quick call for a taxi or to a local sober ride program, you can stay safe and protect others. NHTSA’s SaferRide app for Apple and Android phones can also help you call a cab company or send your location to a friend so they can come pick you up.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is about changing attitudes and actions. Staying safe begins with each of us and how we treat our friends and neighbors. If you choose to drink and drive—and it is a choice—you are risking your life and the lives of those around you. Make the responsible choice—this Labor Day and every day: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.