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DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER: HOLIDAY CRACKDOWN ON DRUNK DRIVERS

December 12, 2011 For more information: Ann Whitehead 501-618-8133 ann.whitehead@asp.arkansas.gov LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Highway Safety Office announced today that state and local law enforcement agencies will participate in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” mobilization effort sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The annual enforcement campaign designed to reduce the incidents of drunk driving on city streets, county roads and state highways will begin December 16th and continue through January 2nd. During the seventeen day operation Arkansas law enforcement officers will conduct supplemental sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to identify and arrest intoxicated drivers. “Law enforcement will be working overtime during the holidays to keep Arkansas roadways safe,” said Colonel JR Howard, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Our heightened presence should remind all motorists to drive sober and not endanger themselves, their families or other motorists.” It is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. During calendar year 2009 nearly 11,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with illegal BACs, according to the latest NHTSA statistics. In Arkansas, of the 585 people killed during 2009, 168 people (29%) were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers. “That’s why law enforcement in Arkansas is dedicated to getting drunk drivers off the road,” said Colonel Howard. The national campaign is designed to send a clear message - Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Impaired driving is clearly a crime, not an accident and law enforcement officers caution those individuals who plan to consume alcohol to also plan not to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. “If you choose to drink and drive, you not only endanger your life and the lives of others, but you can jeopardize your future. You can lose your driver’s license, your job, and money in fines, court costs and higher insurance rates as well as face possible imprisonment. Even refusing a BAC test will cause you to lose your license on the spot and have your car impounded,” Colonel Howard said. The Arkansas Highway Safety Office offers these simple tips for a safe holiday season: • If you are planning to drink alcohol with friends, designate a sober driver before going out. • If you’re impaired, do not drive. Call a taxi or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely. • Promptly report impaired drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement. • Wear your seat belt because it is your best defense against impaired drivers. • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take the keys and help them safely get to their destination. For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.