WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today announced its nationwide campaign to get drunk drivers off the road this holiday season and unveiled a new Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over ad to run in movie theaters immediately before the hotly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens nationwide this weekend.
“We hope the millions of Americans who will be on the road over the holidays will make the safe choice not to drink and drive,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Across the country, local law enforcement officers will be on the roads, protecting all of us from the risk of drunk driving.”
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind was joined at today’s announcement at the Regal Gallery Place movie theater in Washington, D.C., by Inspector Stuart Emerman, Director of Alcohol Enforcement, Washington, D.C. Metro Police Department; Mothers Against Drunk Driving President Colleen Sheehey-Church; Governors Highway Safety Association Chair and Delaware Office of Highway Safety Director Jana Simpler; Montgomery County Police Department, Captain Thomas Didone, and local law enforcement officers during today’s announcement.
Beginning this weekend through January 1, the new ad campaign will air on television, digital outlets and thousands of theaters across the nation will prominently feature the new NHTSA ad immediately prior to the start of the Star Wars movie. The new ad, ‘Man in the Mirror’, depicts a young man’s reflection in the mirror after a night of drinking where the reflection in the mirror tries to convince him that he’s OK to drive. Another version depicts a young woman in the same scenario, a first for the agency. Both ads shows that people who have been drinking can’t trust themselves to properly judge whether they are sober enough to drive. View the ads: Man in the Mirror or Woman in the Mirror.
New data released today shows a 1.1 percent decline in drunk driving deaths in 2014.
Among the 9,967 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in 2014, 69 percent (6,852) were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher. This was nearly twice the set limit in every State. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 was almost four times higher at night than during the day. The percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes with BACs of .08 or higher was 23 percent among males and 15 percent among females. In December 2014, 788 lives were lost due to drunk driving – one death every 57 minutes.
“In the time it takes to watch a two-hour movie, two or more lives will be lost in drunk-driving related crashes. Drunk driving doesn’t just happen. It’s a decision people make. A decision to break the law can bring with it fatal consequences,” said Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator. “We’re proud to be working with thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country to protect the public and get drunk drivers off our roads.”
It is against the law in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to drive a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement crackdown includes more than 10,000 participating police departments and law enforcement agencies.
Americans can avoid adding to the toll of drunk driving by following the law, planning a safe ride home, designating a sober driver or use NHTSA’s SaferRide app to call a taxi or a friend so they can be picked up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store.
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