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STATEWIDE INITIATIVE LAUNCHED AGAINST DRUNK DRIVERS DURING UPCOMING HOLIDAY

August 18, 2009 (LITTLE ROCK) - Colonel Winford E. Phillips, director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s highway safety representative, today announced the Arkansas Highway Safety Office’s latest statewide drunk driving prevention enforcement effort. This crackdown coincides with the national initiative called “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest,” which runs Aug. 21-Sept. 7 for the Labor Day holiday. During the enforcement wave, law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be out in force, utilizing sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to reduce the incidence of drunk driving and to ensure the safety of Arkansas roadways. Motorists are reminded that driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher will put them over the limit and under arrest. “Too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk drivers,” said Phillips. “This careless disregard for human life must stop. To help ensure that happens, members of law enforcement agencies across the state are dedicated to getting impaired drivers off the road and saving lives that might otherwise be lost. Our message is simple. No matter what you drive – a car, pickup, SUV or motorcycle – drive sober. Law enforcement is on the lookout.” Across the country, every 30 minutes someone dies in an alcohol-related crash. Last year alone, more than one million people nationwide were injured in motor vehicle crashes in which alcohol was a factor. In 2008 in Arkansas 171 people died in crashes in which the drivers or motorcycle riders were legally impaired. Teresa Belew, executive director of the Arkansas Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), said MADD supports the upcoming Labor Day enforcement crackdown as one of the key initiatives of our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. “Highly publicized, highly visible and frequent sobriety checkpoints are one of the most effective tools we have to deter drunk driving,” Belew said. “Drivers throughout the state should think twice before getting behind the wheel when intoxicated during this crackdown and throughout the year.” “We always expect greater traffic volume over the Labor Day holiday weekend, and so should every driver,” said Phillips. “Unfortunately, when the traffic increases so does the potential for crashes. So all motorists should make sure they buckle up, obey speed limits and drink non-alcoholic beverages if they are driving. Those that don’t should expect flashing lights in their rear view mirrors, because troopers, police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be out in force looking for them and other drivers like them who choose to jeopardize the safety of our motorists this holiday.” For more information about drunk driving prevention visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web site at nhtsa.gov, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Web site at madd.org, or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.