As families all across America prepare to gather for the holidays, the season that starts out all merry and bright can turn to instant tragedy with the wrong combination of holiday cheer followed by climbing behind the wheel.
Christmas and New Year’s are fun, busy times to celebrate with family and friends, unfortunately it is also one of the deadliest times of the year for drunk-and drugged-driving fatalities. That is why law enforcement officers, in partnership with the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), are encouraging safe, sober driving this holiday season.
The national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign begins this Wednesday, December 18th and runs through January 1st. Increased enforcement, along with statewide messages about the dangers of impaired driving, aim to drastically reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries on the roadways.
Michael Prince, Director of the Office of Highway Safety Planning, says, “The holidays should be an enjoyable time to spend with loved ones,” and adds, “It’s important for people to drive sober this holiday season – and every day. If you’re impaired by any substance, you shouldn’t drive.”
To reinforce that message, his team at OHSP has aired a new 30-second ad titled “Toe Tags” emphasizing the dangers of drugged driving. The ad can be viewed at the link below:
In addition, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed December as Impaired Driving Prevention Month in Michigan.
In 2018, one person was killed every 50 minutes by a drunk driver on our nation’s roads.
In Michigan, of the 905 fatal crashes in 2018, nearly a third, 31.7-percent, involved alcohol. During last year’s Christmas holiday, there were 13 fatal crashes, with nine crashes involving alcohol. Over the New Year’s holiday last year, there were nine fatal crashes, with one crash involving alcohol.
Officers during this campaign will be on the look-out for motorists under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Impairment of any kind while driving is illegal. If a person chooses to drive while impaired, they can be arrested for a DUI and could face jail time.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coordinated by the OHSP.