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NHTSA Launches Labor Day ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Campaign

Two-thirds of drunk driving crash fatalities involved a driver with a BAC of .15+ in 2021

| New York

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) kicked off its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Labor Day national enforcement mobilization campaign today. 

The enforcement effort will be supported by a $13.8 million paid media campaign using a mix of television, radio, digital, social media and billboards to educate drivers about the dangers of impaired driving. As part of the high-visibility enforcement campaign, law enforcement officers will be working with their communities from August 18 through September 4 to stop impaired driving.

The initiative includes a number of public service messages: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over; If You Feel Different, You Drive Different; Drive High, Get a DUI; and Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Sadly, data shows that impaired driving is on the rise. Fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes increased by 14.2% from 2020 to 2021, as compared to a 10.1% increase in overall traffic fatalities from 2020 to 2021. And two-thirds of drunk driving crash fatalities in 2021 involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more, nearly twice the legal limit of impairment. Those crashes killed 9,027 people in 2021.

NHTSA data shows that historically summer months tend to be more dangerous on the road. In 2021, drunk driving accounted for 31% of traffic crash fatalities. In 2021, 13,384 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 39 minutes, up from 2020, when one person was killed every 45 minutes in an impaired-driving crash in the United States.

To address these unacceptable deaths, U.S. DOT launched the National Roadway Safety Strategy last year. The department’s efforts on safer drivers is part of an overall strategy to combat traffic fatalities.

“Impaired drivers put everyone, including themselves, at risk,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said. “We’re asking everyone to arrange for a sober ride home. It’s a matter of life and death.”

At the kickoff event today at the Governors Highway Safety Association’s Annual Meeting in New York City, NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson was joined by Barbara Rooney, GHSA’s Chair and Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety; New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven Nigrelli; Dr. Jeffrey Lai, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Fellowship Director at the UMass Memorial Medical Group and the UMass Chan Medical School; and Erica Linn, whose parents were killed by an impaired driver. 

NHTSA urges everyone to plan ahead and never drive after consuming alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. Instead, designate a sober driver or call a ride-hailing service or cab to make sure you get home safely. Even one drink can begin to impair your driving ability. If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 911. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is illegal in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

For more information on impaired driving, please visit our website. For additional campaign material, visit

For the latest data on impaired driving, please see 2021 Alcohol-Impaired Driving and 2021 State Alcohol-Impaired Driving.

NHTSA 202-366-9550