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U.S. DOT Launches Holiday Impaired Driving High-Visibility Enforcement Campaigns

In 2019, one person was killed every 52 minutes in a drunk-driving crash in the United States

| Washington, DC

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) kicked off its annual holiday high-visibility enforcement campaigns today, aimed at preventing impaired driving and improving safety for all road users. The campaigns are titled: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and If You Feel Different, You Drive Different; Drive High – Get a DUI. As part of the high-visibility enforcement campaigns, law enforcement officers will be working with their communities from December 17, 2021, through January 1, 2022, to take impaired drivers off the roads. A $10.5 million national paid media campaign supports the initiative, which includes a new public service video.

At a virtual kickoff event to spread awareness about the deadly consequences of impaired driving, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff was joined by Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI), representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA), and the Arlington, Texas, Police Department.

“The tragic loss of life from driving impaired, whether under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is 100% preventable,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff. “It is illegal in every state. I urge everyone to plan for a sober ride home.”

According to NHTSA, 837 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver in December 2019. Furthermore, approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations at or above .08 grams per deciliter). 

NHTSA data show that 10,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019 that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Among those fatalities, 68% (6,872) were in crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of .15 or higher. Additionally, nighttime is a particularly dangerous time to be on the roads: the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2019 was 3.3 times higher at night than during the day.

Driving impaired by any substance—alcohol or other drugs, whether legal or illegal—is against the law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. To make this holiday season safer, NHTSA urges everyone to plan ahead, especially when celebrating the holidays, and to never drive drunk or high. Instead, designate a sober driver, use public transportation, or call a ridesharing 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, contact 911. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is illegal in all 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

NHTSA 202-366-9550