JACKSONVILLE, AR (News release) - Labor Day weekend is coming up. For many Americans, that means an extra day off, backyard and beach barbecues, and visiting friends and family. Unfortunately, it also means a sharp increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities. So starting August 15 and continuing through September 1, local police will be aggressively targeting drunk drivers as part of a nationwide effort to end drunk driving and save lives. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will pair increased public awareness with high-visibility enforcement, resulting in fewer drunk drivers on Jacksonville roads.
In 2012, there were 10,322 people killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States. Over Labor Day weekend (6 p.m. Friday to 5:59 a.m. Tuesday) that year, more than a third (38%) of all traffic fatalities were in drunk-driving crashes. These grim facts should speak for themselves, but they haven’t gotten everyone’s attention yet.
“It’s tragic how many people lose their lives to drunk driving,” said Sgt. Richard Betterton. “If the news reported that more than 10,000 people were killed in a preventable crime spree, the American public would be outraged!” he continued. Jacksonville Police Department will be joining the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk. No tolerance, no excuses.
Over the Labor Day weekend in 2012, there were 147 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes across the country. And here’s a staggering statistic: out of all the crash fatalities that weekend, one in four (25%) were attributed to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher—almost twice the legal limit in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Every 51 minutes, someone is killed in a drunk-driving crash. Over the Labor Day weekend, those fatalities increase to one every 34 minutes. Nighttime is especially dangerous; almost half (46%) of the fatalities in nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) crashes over the Labor Day weekend involved a driver with a BACs of .08 or higher. By comparison, 25 percent of the fatalities in daytime fatal crashes involved an impaired driver.
Young drivers are overrepresented in drunk-driving crashes, too. Among young drivers—between the ages of 18 and 34— killed in motor vehicle crashes during the 2012 Labor Day weekend, almost half (48%) had a BAC of .08 or higher, the legal limit in all states. For drivers under 21, anything above a BAC of .00 is illegal.
“Driving drunk is totally inexcusable,” said Sgt. Richard Betterton. “We’re hoping that Jacksonville drivers get the message and take some simple steps to prevent a tragedy. There’s always another way home.” Jacksonville Police Department is reminding drivers to plan ahead and designate a sober driver before attending any events where alcohol will be served. “Planning a sober ride home, whether it’s a friend, a taxi, or public transportation, is the right choice,” added Sgt. Betterton.
This Labor Day weekend don’t let the festivities turn into fatalities. Law enforcement is not messing around: if you’re caught driving drunk, you will be arrested. Remember that aside from the obvious risks of killing yourself or someone else, driving impaired can also lead to serious punitive consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses; the average DUI costs about $10,000.
Click here for more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.