HAWAI‘I DOT: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

August 13, 2019, 1:15 PM HST (Updated August 9, 2019, 1:43 PM)
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The Labor Day holiday marks the end of summer for millions of Americans.

Unfortunately, it is also a time of year when drunk-driving fatalities increase. To help keep people safe on the streets and put an end to drunk driving, the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT), together with the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and its safety partners will participate in the high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, that runs from Aug. 14 through Sept. 2, 2019.

The 2019 Labor Day weekend starts on Friday, Aug. 30, and ends on Monday, Sept. 2.

During the 2017 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. Sept. 1 to 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% of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.

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The numbers are shocking: In 2017, one person died every 48 minutes in a drunk-driving crash in America. These deaths account for approximately one-third of all traffic deaths each year, with 10,874 deaths occurring in 2017, alone. Even with drunk driving being illegal in all 50 states and Washington, DC, the numbers remain similar year after year. Ultimately, drinking and driving is a choice, and it is a choice that puts all road users at risk.

Drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles and sobriety checkpoints during this high-visibility campaign, so make sure you obey the law: Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let your friends do it, either. It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave for the party. Remember that during the Labor Day holiday, officers will make zero exceptions for drunk driving. But keep in mind that impaired driving enforcement is conducted year round, not just during this enforcement campaign. Every week throughout the year, police statewide conduct sobriety checkpoints.

National Facts and Statistics:

• In fatal crashes during the month of August over the five-year period of 2013-17, almost 10% of the drunk drivers involved, with a BAC of .08 or higher, had one or more previous convictions for drunk driving.

• Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2017 (6 p.m. Sept. 1 to 5:59 a.m. Sept. 5), 42% of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.

• Of the traffic fatalities in 2017 among children 14 and younger, 19% occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

• It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher in 49 states and the District of Columbia—no exceptions. In Utah, the limit is .05 BAC.

• Even though it’s illegal to drive when impaired by alcohol, in 2017, one person was killed every 48 minutes by a drunk driver on our nation’s roads.

• Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher). In 2017, there were 10,874 people killed in drunk-driving crashes. To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing, with no survivors.

Financial Impacts:

• On average, a DUI can set you back $10,000 in attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing and repairs, and more.

• The financial impact from impaired-driving crashes can be devastating: based on 2010 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes cost the United States $44 billion annually.

• If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time. Imagine trying to explain that to your friends and family or your place of employment.

• Drinking and driving could cause you to lose your driver’s license and your vehicle. This could inhibit you from getting to work, resulting in lost wages and, potentially, job loss.

ADVICE FOR THE PUBLIC

Plan Before You Party:

• 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 sharing service to get home safely.

• Always have a plan for a safe way home before the celebrations begin.

• Do not forget to designate a sober driver or use public transportation to get home safely.

• If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.

• Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

• Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for IOS devices: SaferRide . 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.

Important Things to Remember:

• Be a responsible citizen – if you know someone who is about to drive or ride after drinking, take the keys and help them get safely to their destination by making the necessary arrangements.

• Do not forget that while you’re out celebrating this Labor Day, you could lose everything, if you choose to drink and drive. Not only would you be risking your life and the lives of others – you could face a DUI arrest. The average DUI costs $10,000, making it difficult to recover financially.

• And the financial responsibility doesn’t end there. Arrested drunk drivers face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other hefty expenses, from car towing and repairs to attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, and more.

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