State and local law enforcement agencies will work overtime during this holiday season to identify and arrest drunk drivers on Arkansas streets and highways. The heightened enforcement campaign spans seventeen days, beginning December 18th through January 3rd.
Increased saturation patrols will be part of the initiative designed to keep Arkansas roadways safe during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
The intensified enforcement effort directed toward drunk drivers underscores the severity of the problem, both locally and across the nation. During the calendar year 2014 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 9,967 deaths in motor vehicle crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Arkansas recorded 135 deaths as a result of alcohol-related crashes during the same reporting period.
“Drunk driving is a choice some people make that inevitably gets people hurt or killed,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “That’s why we’re joining in the nationwide campaign to share the message: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
In addition to reminding all drivers to remain sober, Colonel Bryant is calling on everyone to be alert. “If you see a drunk driver on the road, pull over and call 911 right away and if someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely.”
Arkansas law enforcement agencies are teamed-up with police officers nationally to establish zero tolerance for drunk drivers and encourage all drivers to be safe and sober.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the tragic loss of life play-out again and again just because someone made the bad choice to drive while they were impaired,” added Colonel Bryant.
The Arkansas Highway Safety Office offers the following tips for a safe holiday season:
- If you plan on drinking, do not drive.
- Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before you get in the vehicle.
- Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for drunk driving, or worse, risk injury or death to someone in a crash.
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation to get to your destination safely.
- Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement.
- Always wear your seat belt or use protective equipment while on a motorcycle. These items are your best defense against an impaired driver.
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