Arkansas State Police troopers will be engaged through the new year in a statewide drunk driving enforcement net.
ASP, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has announced an initiative, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” intended to produce tighter drunk driving traffic enforcement during the holiday period, as outlined by ASP Director Col. Stan Witt and NHTSA Region 7 Administrator Christopher J. Murphy.
“Arkansas motorists can expect an increase in saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints anytime, anywhere,” Witt said. “Drunk driving is a crime that will not be tolerated. State troopers and other law enforcement officers will not be looking for excuses. If you're caught driving impaired by alcohol or drugs, you will be arrested and taken to jail.”
Witt and Murphy pointed out that national data for the month of December, 2007-2011, shows 4,169 traffic-related deaths that involved drivers or motorcyclists with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Arkansas, however, has seen a 20 percent decline in drunk driving deaths since 2010, according to Witt.
“Impaired drivers make December one fo the deadliest months to be on the road,” Murphy said. “This December, don't deprive someone of their chance to be home for the holidays next year. Drive sober or get pulled over; it's not worth the risk.”
Witt said the decline in Arkansas drunk driving deaths can be attributed to more aggressive law enforcement, safer vehicles, and organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He said Arkansas had 143 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2012, compared with 178 from 2010.
“Although we have seen reductions in incidents of drunk driving, one death is too many,” Witt said. “Countless numbers of people continue to suffer due to serious injuries or the emotional trauma associated with losing a friend or family member as a result of this serious crime.”
Witt said motorists should follow common sense rules:
--Plan ahead by having a designated driver and give him or her all car keys.
--Use taxi, bus or other public transportation, or contact a family member of friend for a ride home if drinking while away from home.
--Report any drunk driving offense promptly to local law enforcement or the ASP.
--Always wear a seat belt while driving a motor vehicle or protective gear on a motorcycle.