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December 12, 2016

Additional Information Contact:
ASP Highway Safety Office – Ann Whitehead
(501) 618-8133 – ann.whitehead@asp.arkansas.gov

(LITTLE ROCK) – State and local law enforcement officers are increasing their patrol activity aimed at impaired drivers.  Beginning Friday (December 16th) Arkansas State Troopers, along with city and county agencies, will join in the national “Drive Sober of Get Pulled Over” enforcement mobilization.  The special enforcement operation will continue through Sunday, January 1, 2017.  

As the holiday celebrations begin, far too many individuals will be tempted to drive a vehicle after consuming alcohol.  The results typically end in tragedy, if not deadly, consequences.  

Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during calendar year 2015 indicate that across the U.S. there were 35,092 people killed in motor vehicle crashes.  More than 10,000 of those people, 29%, lost their lives in the crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08% or greater.  In Arkansas, during the same reporting period, there were 531 roadway fatalities and 148 (28%) of the deaths were alcohol related.  

NHTSA also reports that from 2011 to 2015, 14,034 people lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the month of December, and 28 percent of those died in a crash that involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.  

“This is a wonderful time of the year and we intend to do whatever we can to keep the highways and roads safe,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “If you choose to drive drunk, not only will you risk your own safety and the safety of others, but you risk long lasting legal consequences.”  

Drunk driving offenders often serve jail time, lose their driver’s license, receive notices of higher auto insurance rates and pay dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, vehicle towing and repairs, not to mention being away from their jobs and lost wages.  But the ultimate cost of drunk driving is causing a traffic crash that injures or kills.  

Follow these tips to stay safe on the road this holiday season:  

•        If you plan to drink alcohol, don’t plan to drive.  Instead, plan for a safe ride home.  Designate a sober driver ahead of time.  

•        If you become intoxicated, do not drive for any reason.  Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member or use public transportation.  

•        If someone you know has been drinking, don’t let them drive.  Take their keys, take them home, or help them arrange a safe trip home.  

•        If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.  

For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  For information on Arkansas’ “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDarkansas.org.