This Labor Day, and Every Day: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Each year, Americans mark the end of summer with the Labor Day holiday weekend, a time to celebrate the hard work and many accomplishments of our country. Friends and families eagerly await pool parties, backyard barbecues, and other occasions to enjoy the last days of summer sunshine. Sadly, the Labor Day holiday has also become one of the deadliest, with drunk drivers endangering themselves and others on their way home from these holiday festivities. Police Chief Matthew P. Geist announced that his year, the Middlesex Police Department is again partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives. “Our officers will be out in force in support of this important effort,” said Chief Geist. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from August 17 through September 3, 2018. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased State and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways.
According to NHTSA, 10,497 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2016. On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2012 to 2016—with one person killed every 50 minutes in 2016. That’s the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors. This is why the Middlesex Police Department is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to Labor Day festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Over the 2016 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 2 – 5:59 a.m. September 6), there were 433 crash fatalities nationwide. Of the fatal crashes, more than one-third (36%) involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ blood alcohol concentration [BAC]), and one-fourth (25%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC). Age is a particularly risky factor: Among the drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2016, 47 percent of those fatalities involved drunk drivers with BACs of .08 or higher.
“This isn’t a ticket blitz. This is an awareness initiative. We want people to make the smart decision to drive sober—Labor Day, and every day,” said Chief Geist. “Incredibly, drunk driving is a growing problem in our country - the numbers are rising, little by little. We are trying to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and it takes lives. We want to put an end to this irresponsible and senseless behavior,” he said.
The Middlesex Police Department and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely. “There is no acceptable excuse for driving drunk,” said Chief Geist. “Plan your sober, responsible ride home before you leave for the party. In Middlesex, we will have no tolerance for drunk driving.”
The Middlesex Police Department recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
• Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
• Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…), and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact the Middlesex Police Department.
• Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.