FRANKLIN CO. - While the holiday season is a great time to eat, drink, and be merry, celebrating the holidays with alcohol can also lead to an increased number of impaired drivers travelling on our roadways. To help keep roads safe for holiday travelers, state and local law enforcement will be looking for drunk drivers during a special Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization from December 16, 2016, to January 1,2017.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 35,092 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015, and 29 percent (10,265) of those fatalities occurred in a crash where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08. In just the month of December that year, 840 people lost their lives as a result of drunk-driving- related crashes.
Nationally, from 2011 to 2015, a total of 14,034 people lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the month of December, and 28 percent (3,983) died in a crash that involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. Many of these tragedies could have been avoided if the impaired driver had simply not gotten behind the wheel. But during the holiday season, too many people take to the roads after consuming alcohol, putting themselves, their passengers and others on the road at risk of a getting in traffic crash, incurring serious injury, or worse—death.
That’s why law enforcement will be stepping up patrols and looking for drunk drivers. Anyone who gets caught driving while impaired faces significant legal and financial consequences.
With a DUI, you face jail time, the loss of your driver’s license, and higher insurance rates, along with dozens of other expenses, including attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work. Also, there’s the humiliation and consequences of telling family, friends and employers of your arrest.
If you are celebrating the holidays with alcohol, plan for a sober ride home ahead of time and never risk driving after drinking. Even refusing to take a breath test in many jurisdictions has consequences, including the immediate loss of your driver’s license and the impoundment of your vehicle. If you think you won’t pass a breath test, you don’t belong behind the wheel.
Travelers should follow these trips to stay safe on the road this holiday season:
● If you will be drinking, plan on not driving. Plan your safe ride home before you start the party. Designate a sober driver ahead of time.
● If you become intoxicated, do not drive for any reason. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. Try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.
● If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys, take them home, or help them arrange a sober ride.
● If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.
Enjoy the festivities, but never drive while impaired. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office will be on the lookout for drunk drivers this holiday season. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.