U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today joined with safety advocates and law enforcement officials to announce the Department's annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown on drunk drivers. This year's announcement included a special focus on the victims of drunk driving, as NHTSA data show that every three hours in the United States, a drunk-driving crash claims the life of someone who was not driving drunk.
"Drunk driving remains a serious, deadly crime that all too often destroys the lives of innocent victims," said Secretary Foxx. "We're sending a message today that we will not tolerate drunk driving, so if you have had too much to drink, don't get behind the wheel."
The annual crackdown on drunk drivers comes at a time when nearly 10,000 people are dying each year in drunk driving crashes: 27 people a day, or one person every 53 minutes, according to NHTSA data. More than one-third of those killed in drunk driving crashes are not the drunk driver.
- In 2011, 3,371 people were killed in drunk driving crashes who were not the drunk driver.
- 1,612 were passengers in a drunk driver's vehicle, many of them too young to drive, including 91 children under the age of 15 years old.
- 1,049 were motorists of other vehicles involved in a crash with a drunk driver.
- 710 were pedestrians or bicyclists.
- 6,507 were the drunk drivers themselves.
"There is absolutely no excuse for driving drunk and putting our citizens in danger," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Our message is clear. If you drive drunk, you will be stopped, arrested, and prosecuted -- Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."
From August 16 to September 2, more than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country will be out in force to crackdown on impaired drivers for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown. The U.S. Department of Transportation is also conducting a $14 million national advertising campaign that sends the message that law enforcement officers are vigilant to the signs of impaired driving and committed to enforcement.
Additional information on drunk driving can be found in NHTSA's latest issue of SAFETY 1N NUM3ERS, an online monthly newsletter on hot topics in auto safety -- including problem identification, people at risk and recommended practices and solutions to mitigate injury and death on our nation's roadways.