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June 28, 2011 (LITTLE ROCK) – The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office announced today a summer holiday enforcement initiative to combat impaired driving beginning with the July 4th holiday period. “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest” is a nine day long statewide enforcement campaign set to begin July 1st. The Arkansas mobilization effort includes city, county and state law enforcement agencies working together and devoting overtime patrols to combat drunk driving. A 25 year comparison of NHTSA statistical data indicates, on average, nearly half of all deadly traffic crashes during each July 4th holiday period have involved alcohol as a contributing factor. “The Fourth of July should be a time for celebration, but for too many Arkansans, it has ended in tragedy,” said Colonel JR Howard, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “We want Arkansans to enjoy this important American holiday, but to do so in a responsible and safe manner for the sake of their families and others on the state and local roadways.” All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico enforce laws making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Violators can be sentenced to jail time, have their driver license revoked, charged higher insurance rates and incur dozens of other unanticipated expenses. Despite the rigid penalties, impaired driving continues to be one of the nation’s most dangerous problems. During 2009 the number of fatalities from alcohol related motor vehicle crashes totaled 10,839, nearly 32 percent of all U.S. traffic related fatalities. On average during the year, one person was killed every 48 minutes as the result of a traffic crash in which alcohol was a contributing factor. Arkansas motorists were not immune to the deadly 2009 trend. Comparatively the 585 traffic fatalities during 2009 included 168 deaths (29 percent of the total) that were alcohol related. “Alcohol impairs many of the skills that safe driving requires. This leaves us, as law enforcement officers, with little choice, but to demonstrate a position of zero tolerance and anyone caught driving with a BAC of .08 or higher will be arrested,” said Colonel Howard. “It’s simply not worth the risk. So, if you are caught over the limit, you will be arrested,” For more information, log onto the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” at www.StopImpairedDriving.org or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.