MATTESON, Ill. (WTHI) - Law enforcement agencies from throughout the Midwest are bracing for the deadliest holiday of the year due to impaired driving crashes by increasing enforcement on our roads. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown on impaired drivers will extend through July 6th.
"Statistics gathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that 392 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes during the 2010 July 4th holiday," according to Michael Witter, Midwest Regional Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "More troubling, data indicates a dramatic increase in crashes involving at least one driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. For example, during the course of the year, 31 percent of all traffic related crashes in the United States involve an impaired driver; during the July 4th holiday that percentage jumps to 39 percent…an 8 percent increase," he continued.
"That's why law enforcement throughout the Midwest and around the nation will be out in full force cracking down on drunk drivers during the Fourth of July holiday period with an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement blitz," said Witter. "Too many people still don't comprehend that alcohol, drugs and driving just don't mix. Impaired driving is no accident—nor is it a victimless crime," he added.
"Impaired driving is one of America's deadliest problems. In 2010 alone, more than 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the United States. That's an average of one impaired driving fatality every 51 minutes," Witter said. "We want people to be careful all weekend, but particularly at night. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010 was almost five times higher at night than during the day," he continued.
Witter emphasized the need for motorists to remember the following guidelines for enjoying a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing their lives and the lives of the others who may be on the road:
- Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
- Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
- If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
- Use your community's Sober Rides program.
- If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.
"Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk. Getting arrested for impaired driving is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can change your life forever," he stressed.
"So remember, no matter what you drive—a passenger car, pickup, or motorcycle—if you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested," Witter concluded.
For more information, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober.
Release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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