During the Labor Day holiday, including the end of summertime and the busy Labor Day weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working alongside the law enforcement community in New Orleans to decrease impaired driving.
From August 19 through September 5, the NOPD will be participating in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement period. In support of the law enforcement community’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see officers working together during this time to take drunk drivers off the roads. No matter how you plan to celebrate the end of the season this year, make sure you plan it safely.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2016 to 2020, and one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes in 2020. This is why the NOPD is working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, but a matter of life and death. As you head out to festivities during the end of summer and Labor Day weekend, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
“We want our community members to understand that it’s our first priority to keep people safe, so we’re asking everyone to plan ahead if they know they’ll be out drinking,” said NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson. “We need commitment from our community members that they’ll keep the streets free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe summertime and Labor Day holiday. This is an awareness effort to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal, and it takes lives. Let’s make this a partnership between law enforcement and drivers: Help us protect the community and put an end to this senseless behavior,” he said.
During the 2020 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 4 – 5:59 a.m. September 8), there were 530 crash fatalities nationwide. Forty-six 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 one-fourth (25%) 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 21 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2020, 44% of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.
The NOPD and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely. “Drunk driving is not acceptable behavior, especially when there are so many safe alternatives to get you home safely,” Ferguson said.
The NOPD 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 a sober ride program.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the NOPD.
- Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and plan to get your friend home safely.
For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.