August 16, 2023
During the Labor Day holiday period, including the end of summertime and the busy holiday weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be working alongside law enforcement in Arkansas to decrease impaired driving. From August 18 through September 4, Arkansas law enforcement will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility enforcement campaign. During this time, you’ll see officers working together to take drunk drivers off the roads in support of law enforcement’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities. No matter how you plan to celebrate the end of summer this year, make sure you plan to do it safely.
For this year’s campaign, the National Park Service (NPS), and NHTSA Region 7, which includes Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa, are again partnering to emphasize the importance of driving sober and saving lives on America’s roadways in and around our region’s National and State Parks. There will be an increased presence of state and local law enforcement officers along with NPS rangers during this campaign, whose expanded efforts to protect against impaired driving will be conducted in a fair and equitable way. Campaign activities will be highlighted by NHTSA at a press conference in St. Louis, Missouri at the Gateway Arch on August 25. Law enforcement officers in all regions will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign throughout the Labor Day weekend.
According to NHTSA, 13,384 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2021 — that’s one person every 39 minutes. On average, more than 11,000 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes each year from 2017 to 2021. This is why Arkansas law enforcement officers are working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal; it’s a matter of life and death. As you head out to festivities during the end of summer and Labor Day weekend, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
“We want our community members to understand that it’s our first priority to keep people safe, so we’re asking everyone to plan ahead if they know they’ll be out drinking,” said Colonel Mike Hagar, Arkansas Public Safety Secretary, and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “In addition to enforcement, the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is an awareness effort to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and it takes lives. Let’s make this a partnership between law enforcement and drivers− help us protect the community and put an end to this senseless behavior,” he said.
During the 2021 Labor Day holiday period (6:00 p.m. September 3 to 5:59 a.m. September 7), there were 531 traffic fatalities nationwide. Of these 531 fatalities, 41% (216) involved a drunk driver, and more than a quarter (27%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC). Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2021, 48% of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.
No one should mix drinking and driving, and no one is immune to the effects of drinking. If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get into a vehicle with a drunk driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive after drinking, take away their keys and help them get home safely. Most importantly: Always have a plan before you head out for the evening. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you will already be too impaired to make the right choice.
So remember, this Labor Day weekend and all year long: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. It could save your life.
For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDArkansas.org.