Brown County Safe Communities held its kickoff of the nationwide campaign of “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Saturday, Aug.9 at the Mt. Orab Music in the Park.
This year’s campaign will run Aug. 15 through Sept. 1, covering the end of summer and the busy Labor Day holiday weekend. The goal is to present an unmistakable show of force, ready to discourage individuals from driving drunk and putting lives at risk.
If drunk driving was eliminated, more than 10,000 lives would be spared each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is calling on thousands of law enforcement agencies to join in the fight against drunk driving. By working together, increasing public awareness and using a no-excuses approach to enforcement, a strong message can be conveyed that drunk driving will not be tolerated.
In 2012, the families of 10,322 people were devastated by the tragic, preventable death of loved ones in alcohol-involved crashes. Young drivers (18-34) represent the largest segment of drunk drivers in the United States; among the people killed in drunk-driving crashes over the Labor Day holiday weekend, for example, almost half (45 percent) were between the ages of 18 and 34. For those under the age of 21 it was illegal to consume alcohol, yet they did drink and, in addition, chose to drive after drinking.
One in three traffic fatalities in America are alcohol-related.
Over the Labor Day weekend in 2012, one person was killed every 34 minutes, on average, in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash. The same weekend, 390 people lost their lives in traffic crashes. A staggering 25 percent of those involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher – almost double the legal limit in all states and DC.
Among drivers killed in traffic crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2012, about 41 percent of them were impaired.
NHTSA data indicates that highly visible enforcement campaigns can reduce drunk-driving fatalities by up to 20 percent.
Part of the kickoff was a free sample of a Mocktail developed by the Brown County Municipal Court called The Chiller. A mocktail is an non-alcoholic drink that could be offered at parties in place of alcoholic drinks to help avoid driving impaired.
Dale Anderson served the frozen concoction of ice cream, orange juice, ginger ale and fruit juice. The Brown County Sheriff’s Department and the Ohio State Highway Patrol were also represented at the kickoff. Their goal is increase their time on the roads and assist in deterring individuals from driving impaired.
Brown County Safe Communities is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ohio Department of Public Safety/Ohio State Highway Patrol-Ohio Traffic Safety Office. The program is administered by the Area Health Education Center of the University of Cincinnati AHEC Program, located 114 East State Street, in Georgetown.
Membership consists of local law enforcement, community members, county officials, businesses, health organizations and educators. Brown County Safe Communities’ mission is to reduce the number of fatal and serious injury traffic crashes on Brown County roads, with a special focus on the youthful driver.