Just a heads up that Santa isn't the only one out there keeping an eye on who's naughty and nice this holiday season. Local authorities are joining the jolly old elf in keeping things safe in the days ahead by launching a fresh edition of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott is leading the charge, reminding everyone that while the holidays are a time for family, friends, and co-workers to celebrate, it's also imperative that people be smart.
Whether it's an office party, a family member's home, or a gathering at the bar, it is essential to plan ahead and have a way to get home safely after the party ends. To help spread the message about the dangers of impaired driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in partnership with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, are working to encourage safe and sober driving this holiday season.
The national high-visibility enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from December 13-31. During that period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk and drugged driving. Increased enforcement, along with increased messages about the dangers of driving while impaired, aim to drastically reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries on our roadways.
Sheriff Abbott says, "We understand that during the holidays, people are busy checking items off their to-do list and attending parties," however, he adds, "We need people to remember - it's up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober, not just during the holidays but all year long. Stay safe and stay sober on the roads."
Statistics show that we have a lot of work to do to put an end to impaired driving. Nationally, 10,874 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2017, equating to one person killed every 48 minutes. In December 2017, 885 people lost their lives in traffic crashes in this country involving a drunk driver. In Michigan, impaired driving represented 45.7-percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017. This is why the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office is working hard to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death.
Drunk driving isn't the only risk on the road. If drivers are impaired by any substance-alcohol or drugs-they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Driving while impaired is illegal, period. Abbott reminds us, "If You Feel Different, You Drive Different."
The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely. As Abbott points out, "Impaired driving of any form is not acceptable behavior," and he concludes, "It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave for the party. That's why, during the December holiday, we will make zero exceptions for impaired driving. There are just no excuses."