The Acadiana Regional Transportation Safety Coalition is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and law enforcement agencies in the region to share messages about the dangers of drunk driving.
NHTSA and ARTSC are reminding drivers to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Officers from communities around the area will be working together from December 15, 2021, through January 1, 2022, to take drunk drivers off the roads. The expanded efforts, they say, is to protect against impaired driving in a fair and equitable way.
Over 10,000 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2019, according to NHTSA. This accounts for nearly one-third of traffic crash fatalities. On average, the agencies say that more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2015 to 2019 with one person killed in a drunk-driving crash every 52 minutes in 2019.
“It’s so important that drivers act responsibly, and that includes refraining from impaired driving,” said Ron Czajkowski, Safety Coordinator for ARTSC. “The holidays are a special time of year for most, and we really want our community members to enjoy this season. We need commitment from our drivers that they’ll keep the roads free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe holiday. This is a campaign to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and it takes lives. Help us put an end to this senseless behavior,” he said.
During the month of December 2019, 837 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver. During the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2019 alone, there were more drunk-driving-related fatalities (210) than during any other holiday period that year.
“Drunk driving is not acceptable behavior,” said Czajkowski. “It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave for the party. There are too many resources to get you home safely. There are just no excuses for drunk driving,” he said.
Understand the Risks
- Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL. And the costs can be financial, too: If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, higher insurance rates, and lost wages.
- If you’re the designated driver, make sure you keep that promise of safety to yourself and your passengers. Stay hydrated with water and other non-alcoholic beverages. Support other designated drivers, too. It can be a long night, but people are counting on you, not to mention the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the streets. Take the role of designated driver seriously — people are relying on you.
Celebrate with a Plan
ARTSC and the law enforcement partners in our region recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
- 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.
- If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement agency or call 911.
- Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
For more information about the 2021 Holiday Season Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.
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