Arkansas State Troopers will be joined by city and county law enforcement officers in the coming days in a unified effort to remove impaired drivers from local streets and roads as well as state and U.S. highways. The special enforcement operation begins Friday, December 14th and continues through New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled-Over” is a national campaign organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Participating law enforcement agencies will have no tolerance for drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to NHTSA, 10,874 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes during 2017 which equates to one person killed every 48 minutes. On average, 10,000 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes each year from 2013 to 2017. During December 2017, 885 people lost their lives across the country in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver.
“Impaired driving is not acceptable behavior,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Drivers should remember it’s up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober, not just during the holidays, but every time they’re behind the wheel.”
Colonel Bryant stated that impaired driving is a growing problem in our country. “In addition to drivers impaired by alcohol, we’re also seeing an increase in drivers who are under the influence of drugs.”
NHTSA statistics from 2017 also indicate that motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment compared to other motor vehicle drivers (27% for motorcycle riders, 21% for passenger car drivers, 20% for light-truck drivers, and 3% for drivers of large trucks). Nearly one in five children (14 and younger) killed in traffic crashes were killed in drunk-driving crashes Fifty-four percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.
The Arkansas Highway Safety Office offers the following tips for a safe holiday season:
- If you plan on drinking, do not drive. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before you get in the vehicle. Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for drunk driving, or worse, risk injury or death to someone by causing a crash.
- If you have been drinking, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation to get to your destination safely.
- Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. 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.
- Promptly report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
- Always wear your seat belt or use safety equipment while on a motorcycle. These items are your best defense against an impaired driver.
For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For information on Arkansas’ “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDarkansas.org.