CHARLESTON, WV — With Americans preparing to celebrate the Labor Day holiday weekend, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) wants to remind everyone about the dangers of drinking and driving.
This Labor Day holiday, the GHSP will join with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to spread the word about impaired driving dangers and to work together to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives.
The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is now underway and continues through September 7, 2020. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of drunk driving, coupled with law enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways.
According to NHTSA, 10,511 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2018. On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2014 to 2018 and one person was killed in drunk-driving crashes every 50 minutes in 2018. That’s the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing, each year, with no survivors. This is why the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to socially distanced Labor Day festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
“We want to see Labor Day celebrated, but celebrated safely,” Gov. Jim Justice said.
“Whether you are at home or at an event with social distancing, we want West Virginians to keep our roads free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe holiday,” Gov. Justice continued. “We want to get the message out that not only is drunk driving illegal in West Virginia, drunk driving kills people. Help us protect our families, friends, and neighbors by avoiding this unnecessary risk.”
During the 2018 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. August 31 – 5:59 a.m. September 4), there were 439 crash fatalities nationwide. During the 2018 Labor Day holiday weekend, 9 West Virginians died in crashes. Forty-three percent of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC). More than one-third (38%) of the fatalities involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC), and nearly one-fourth (24%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC). Age is a particularly risky factor: Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2018, 47% of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.
“During the Labor Day holiday and every day of the year, we will make zero exceptions for drunk driving. There are just no excuses,” said Bob Tipton, GHSP Director.
The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
- If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
- Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/drive-sober. For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit the GHSP website or call 304-926-2509.