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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

DOT's Cliff: "There is no excuse for anyone to drive drunk or impaired by drugs"

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The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched its annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Labor Day campaign Aug. 17.

The $13 million multimedia campaign is designed to warn drivers about the dangers of driving while under the influence or otherwise impaired, according to a NHTSA news release. During the campaign's virtual kickoff event, NHTSA Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff was joined by representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Sheriff's Association, the TEAM Coalition and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

“As friends and family gather to celebrate the end of summer, we want everyone to make it home safely. Driving impaired often has fatal consequences – and it’s completely preventable,” Cliff said in the release. “There is no excuse for anyone to drive drunk or impaired by drugs. When you’re planning your Labor Day celebrations, plan for a sober drive home.”

According to the NHTSA release, 11,654 individuals died in car accidents involving drunk drivers in 2020 alone, and 67% of those deaths occurred in collisions in which at least one motorist's blood alcohol content was at 0.15 or more. Between 2018 and 2020, there were more than 10,000 fatalities annually on average, with one homicide resulting from drunk driving occurring approximately every 45 minutes in 2020.

The NHTSA encourages drivers to plan ahead and never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Instead, intoxicated individuals should have a designated sober driver or use a ride share service or a cab to arrive home safely, the release reported.

One drink is often enough to impair a driver's judgement, according to the release. Any impaired drivers on the road should be reported to law enforcement by calling 911. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a crime in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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