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December 18, 2007 (LITTLE ROCK) – Law enforcement agencies across Arkansas are gearing up to provide extra protection for travelers on the roadways this holiday season. At a news conference today, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel joined the Arkansas State Police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving in announcing a statewide initiative to join a national law enforcement and media campaign, “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” “Focusing on the weekends before the Christmas and New Year holidays, December 21-22 and December 28-29, Arkansas law enforcement agencies will conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints to identify and arrest impaired drivers,” McDaniel said. “Please celebrate responsibly and don’t take a chance because chances are you will be caught. The choice is yours to designate a driver or one will be appointed for you – straight to jail.” Last year 34 percent of all Arkansas’s traffic fatalities were alcohol related. This translates into 226 lives lost on Arkansas roadways in one year due to alcohol related highway crashes. Colonel Winford E. Phillips, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor Mike Beebe’s Highway Safety Representative, said the department’s troopers will join other state and local law enforcement officers across Arkansas in making sure the state’s roadways stay safe. “The Arkansas State Police works every day to reduce the number of injuries and deaths associated with traffic crashes.” Colonel Phillips said. “Drunk driving is a crime and will not be tolerated. If we catch you driving over the legal blood alcohol limit, you will be arrested.” “Drunk driving crashes are not accidents,” said Arkansas Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Teresa Belew, “These crashes are entirely preventable if motorists would forego a holiday activity that can often lead to tragedy – getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after drinking or using other drugs.” MADD suggests that party hosts include alcohol-free beverages and protein-rich foods, along with reminding guests to plan ahead and remember the following advice: • Don’t risk it – If you plan to drive, don’t drink. • Choose a sober designated driver. • If you have been drinking, take a taxicab or ask someone to get you home. • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement • Always wear your safety belt – your best defense against an impaired driver. The Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest campaign, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is administered through the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office and is conducted in an effort to inform motorists of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. Television and radio announcements will accompany the campaign to alert the public to the additional enforcement efforts. For more information, go to www.stopimpaireddriving.org on the Internet or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.