In late August, 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) launched a new, nationwide campaign to stop drivers from driving drunk. The campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” is intended to reduce the number of car accidents caused by drunk drivers by keeping them off the road.
The danger drunk drivers pose to others is well-recognized by the DOT, law enforcement officials and transportation safety advocates. Yet, drunk driving is still one of the main causes of injury and death in America, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to the NHTSA, 11,000 people were killed in car accidents involving drunk drivers in 2009. In addition, research from the NHTSA reveals that most fatal car accidents involving drunk drivers occur between midnight and 3:00 in the morning, when crashes with drunk drivers result in an average of one death every 23 minutes. Therefore, the DOT’s awareness efforts and local law enforcement crackdowns mainly target late-night drunk drivers.
In addition, other statistics provided by the NHTSA show that:
- One in three drivers between 21 and 24 years old involved in a fatal car accident was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.
- Drivers between 25 and 34 years old were the second age group most likely to be in a car accident involving alcohol impairment.
- Following midnight to 3:00 am, the times with the highest percentages of crashes involving impaired drivers were 9:00 pm to midnight and 3:00 am to 6:00 am.
The DOT relies on thousands of local law enforcement agencies to vigorously pursue drunk drivers. Hopefully, their efforts and the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign will prevent tragic accidents caused by drunk drivers from taking more lives.