Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Holiday Season Enforcement Campaign

2020-11-09Updated: 2022-03-10 Law Office of Robert L. Ward

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is joining forces with law enforcement nationwide during the Holiday Season Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility enforcement campaign, which runs in December of each year.

With an increase in holiday parties and festivities, the month of December can be a dangerous time of year for drunk-driving fatalities. In fact, with marijuana use and drugged driving on the rise across the country, it is important to keep watch for all forms of impaired driving. With NHTSA’s support, State and local law enforcement agencies across the nation are stepping-up enforcement to put an end to all forms of impaired driving, showing zero tolerance in an effort to save lives.

Sobering Statistics

  • Almost 30 percent of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher). In 2017, 10,874 people were killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average, more than 10,000 people died each year from 2013 to 2017 in drunk-driving crashes. To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors.
  • It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher in all 50 States and the District of Columbia—no exceptions.
  • Drug-impaired driving is an increasing problem on our nation’s roads. It is illegal to drive while drug-impaired, period. It’s essential for drivers to understand: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. Driving while impaired by any substance is deadly and illegal.
  • In 2017, almost one in five children (14 and younger) killed in traffic crashes were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-four percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.
  • Despite the fact that it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, in 2017 one person was killed every 48 minute in a drunk driving crash on our nation’s roads.
  • Men are more likely than women to be involved in fatal drunk-driving crashes. In 2017, 21 percent of males were drunk in these crashes, compared to 14 percent of females.
  • In 2017, motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than any other type of motor vehicle driver (27% for motorcycle riders, 21% for passenger car drivers, 20% for light-truck drivers, and 3% for drivers of large trucks).
  • According to NHTSA, 885 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December 2017.

Plan a Safe Ride Home Ahead of Time—This Holiday Season, and All Year ‘Round.

Plan ahead. You know whether you’ll attend a party. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously—your friends are relying on you.

  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
  • Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices, and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he
    or she can be picked up.
  • Use your community’s sober ride program - Since last summer, Johnson County residents have signed up to serve as drivers for ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft. The drivers have been gearing up for one of the busiest nights of the year — New Year’s Eve.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, dial 911.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Drunk Driving Comes at a Cost

Drunk driving can cost you your life, but it can also cost you financially. Here’s how:

  • If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time. Imagine trying to explain that to your friends and family or your place of employment if you’re unable to report to work.
  • On average, a DUI can set you back $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing and repairs, and more.
  • In addition to the human toll drunk driving takes on our country, the financial impact is devastating as well: based on 2010 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes costs the United States $44 billion annually.