LIVE OAK — During the 2019 Labor Day holiday, the Live Oak Police Department will partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives.
The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from Aug. 14 through Sept. 2. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways.
Sadly, the statistics prove there is still a lot of work to do to put an end to drunk driving. According to NHTSA, 10,874 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2017. On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2013 to 2017 — one person was killed in drunk driving crashes every 48 minutes in 2017. That’s the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors.
This is why the Live Oak Police Department is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. The LOPD reminds residents that when they head to Labor Day festivities, remember to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
During the 2017 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m., Sept. 1 — 5:59 a.m., Sept. 5), there were 376 crash fatalities nationwide. Forty-four percent of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC). More than one-third (36%) of the fatalities involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC), and more than one-fourth (26%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC). Age is a particularly risky factor: Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2017, 42 percent of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.
Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road: Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem on the nation’s roads. 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. The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI.
It’s that simple.
“Labor Day should be a time for friends and family to come together to enjoy the last days of summer,” Live Oak Police Chief Keith Davis said in a release. “We need commitment from our community members that they’ll keep the streets 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.”
The LOPD and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely.
“Drunk driving is not acceptable behavior,” Davis added in the release. “It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave for the party. That’s why, during the Labor Day holiday, we will make zero exceptions for drunk driving.
“There are just no excuses.”
The LOPD recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
- Remember that it is never OK to drink and drive. Even if it was only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
- Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact the Live Oak Police Department or the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office at 386-362-2222.
- 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 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.