Additional Information Contact:
ASP Highway Safety Office – Bridget White
(501) 618-8230

December 12, 2023 – It’s hard to have a happy holiday when you’re arrested for drunk driving. Keep the season merry and bright by following the law and refusing to drink and drive. During this busy winter holiday season, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with Arkansas law enforcement to urge drivers to think twice before drinking and driving. The Arkansas Highway Safety Office wants all drivers to remember this lifesaving message: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. From December 13, 2023, through January 1, 2024, drivers will see officers working on a special high-visibility enforcement campaign to get impaired drivers off the road and spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving.

Tragically, December can be a dangerous time for people on the road. During the 2017-2021 December months, there were more than 4,500 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. In December 2021 alone, 1,013 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. Additionally, male drivers are far more likely to be impacted by drunk driving: In December 2021, male drivers who were alcohol impaired were involved in fatal crashes at a much higher rate (721) compared to female drivers (208). Overall, young drivers ages 21-34 accounted for the highest percentage (27%) of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes in December 2021. The increased parties and festivities celebrating the season tend to bring out more drunk drivers. Arkansas law enforcement officers want to remind drivers to always make a plan before heading out to a celebration.

Designated drivers are a valuable tool for reducing impaired driving, and can even be the difference between life and death. If you are a designated driver, be sure to stay hydrated with water and other non-alcoholic beverages and actively support other designated drivers. Being a designated driver can be difficult, but it's important to remember that many people are counting on you to stay sober behind the wheel, particularly other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the roadways.

“Drunk driving isn’t just dangerous, it’s illegal,” said Arkansas Public Safety Secretary Colonel Mike Hagar. “The holidays are a special time of year and it’s our job in state and local law enforcement to keep the highways and local streets safe for everyone. Drivers have a choice to make: Follow the law and respect your fellow drivers by refraining from drunk driving. Or, make the choice to drive drunk, put others at risk, and risk your own mortality and wellbeing. We need a commitment from every driver to keep the roads free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe holiday.”

Remember: A few dollars spent on a sober ride is a lot cheaper than a DWI, which can cost up to $10,000. Something else to consider: Don’t ever be too proud or embarrassed to ask for a ride. Allowing a sober driver to help you get home safely keeps you and others safe. What’s more embarrassing than drunkenly asking for a sober ride home? Spending the night in jail. Having your car impounded. Losing your job. Take your pick or choose to drive sober.

The Arkansas Highway Safety Office recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

It’s never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely. Plan a safe way home before you leave.

If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi, ride-share service or a designated driver to drive you home.

If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1.

If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.

Always buckle up. Your seat belt is your best defense against a drunk driver.

For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement period, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. Also learn more about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDArkansas.org or follow TZD Arkansas on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (X).

Arkansas State Police Communications | 501-618-8232 | asp.pio@asp.arkansas.gov