This holiday season, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Region 7 Office, is partnering with the State Highway Safety Offices in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska to share the message about the dangers of drunk driving. From December 16, 2022, through January 1, 2023, law enforcement will participate in the high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
According to NHTSA, 11,654 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2020 – 760 in our region alone. This is why NHTSA Region 7 is working to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal but also a matter of life and death. As you head out to the holiday festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
“It’s critical that drivers act responsibly, and that includes refraining from impaired driving,” said Regional Administrator Susan DeCourcy. “The holidays are a special time of year for most, and we want our community members to enjoy this season. In 2020, more than 25% of our region’s crash fatalities were from drunk driving. This is a campaign to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and takes lives. Help us put an end to this dangerous behavior so that everyone can have a safe holiday,” DeCourcy said.
During the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2020 alone, there were more drunk-driving-related fatalities than during any other holiday period that year. Like drunk driving, driving high is impaired driving. Regardless of whether the drug was obtained legally or otherwise or whether it is prescription or over-the-counter, impaired driving is dangerous, illegal in all 50 states, and can have deadly consequences for you, your passengers, and others on the road. These fatalities are preventable, and drivers must remember that driving impaired by any substance — alcohol or other drugs — is deadly, illegal, and selfish behavior.
Remember, you have options beyond designating a sober driver. “Drunk driving is not acceptable behavior. It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave to go out. There are so many resources available to get you home safely. You can designate a sober driver, call a taxi or rideshare service, and some communities even have a sober ride program. Getting home safely is always worth it. There are just no excuses for drunk driving,” DeCourcy said.
If you’re the designated driver, make sure you keep that promise of safety to yourself and your passengers. Support other designated drivers, too. It can be a long night, but people are counting on you, not to mention the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the streets. Take the role of the designated driver seriously. Also, if you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement immediately.
Give the gift of safety this holiday season and celebrate with a plan. Remember, if you feel different, you drive different. If you drive drunk or high, you’ll get a DUI so please join us in sharing this lifesaving message: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
For more information about the 2022 Holiday Season campaign, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/