August 21, 2015 | Washington, DC
Friday, August 21, 2015
Contact: Katheryn Henry, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov
10,000 law enforcement agencies target this deadly behavior in the final weeks of summer
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today launched its annual "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" law enforcement crackdown on drunk driving. The crackdown involves more than 10,000 law enforcement agencies across the country that will be out in force through Labor Day zeroing in on drunk drivers, with zero tolerance for drivers caught with a BAC of .08 or higher – the legal limit.
The crackdown runs from August 21 to September 7, 2015, and is supported by $13.5 million in national advertising funds from NHTSA.
"Drunk driving is deadly, it's against the law, and despite years of progress, it's still a problem," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "With the help of law enforcement around the country, we're getting the word out– if you've been drinking, don't drive, because if you do, you will be stopped, you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted."
While the number of drunk drivers on the road has been sharply reduced, motorists are still at risk for encountering someone driving drunk at any time of day. That risk rises exponentially between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. During the Labor Day period in 2013, half of all the fatalities at night involved drunk drivers, as compared to 14 percent during the day.
"Targeted enforcement campaigns are an essential element in our strategy to save lives and reduce crashes, and they have helped sharply reduce the number of drunk drivers on our roads," said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. "But too many drivers continue to risk their lives and the lives of others by getting behind the wheel drunk. Our message is clear: drive sober, or get pulled over."
Drunk driving remains a serious public health problem. Alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2013. Of the 10,076 people who died in drunk driving crashes that year, 68 percent were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 or higher – nearly twice the legal limit.
NHTSA reminds motorists that your best protection against a drunk driver is a seat belt. And for those who find themselves too drunk to safely drive, NHTSA's SaferRide app will help keep drunk drivers off the roads by allowing users to call a taxi or a friend and by identifying their location so they can be picked up. This free app is available on Google Play (for Android devices) and on the iTunes Store (for Apple devices).