This time of year, with all the holiday parties and festive occasions, many partygoers will be drinking. If you’re celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, Dickenson County Sheriff Bobby Hammons and his department have a message for you: Drive sober or get pulled over.
Due to the increase in drunk-driving related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be out in force now through Jan. 1 actively searching for drunk drivers.
The facts are grim: in December 2012, 830 people were killed in crashes involving at least one drive or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher; 26 of those deaths occurred on Christmas day. On average, a third (31 percent) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving. But on Christmas day, the percentage jumps to 36.
“It’s time for all drivers to get the message,” said Hammons, “that drunk driving isn’t a victimless crime. You could kill yourself or someone else, or get a DUI and go to jail.”
It’s illegal in every state to drive over the limit of .08 grams per deciliter. And it might not take as much alcohol as you think to get there, noted Hammons. So the safest approach is to only driver sober. If you plan on drinking at a holiday party, bar or restaurant, let someone else do the driving — a sober friend, a taxi or public transportation.
Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America. It’s one of the primary missions of the National Highway Safety Administration to drastically reduce this toll on our nation. So as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period, police will be increasing their number of patrols, setting up roadblocks, and using local media to reach all drivers.
If you’re drinking and driving, police will find and arrest you — no warnings, no excuses. You’ll face jail time, loss of your driver’s license, towing fees and other DUI expenses — not to mention the humiliation among your family, friends and workplace.
Some people think if they get pulled over for driving drunk, they can just refuse a breath test to avoid the DUI charge. “Not true,” says Hammons. “In most jurisdictions, refusing a breath test means an automatic arrest and loss of your driver’s license on the spot.”
In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, Hammons is calling on everyone to be alert. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away; you could save a life. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely.