Officials Warn Drunk Driving Car Accidents Over Labor Day Weekend Could Reach Record Numbers

Summer months pose the greatest risk of car accidents involving drunk drivers, with Labor Day Weekend consistently the deadliest holiday on U.S. roadways

An annual campaign against drunk driving has begun ahead of the Labor Day weekend, as federal safety officials warn that the holiday could be particularly deadly, since car accidents linked to drug and alcohol use have been on the rise all year.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign on August 15, increasing police presence on roads nationwide in an effort to warn motorists of both the dangers, and consequences, of drunk or impaired driving.

Federal safety officials indicate that impaired driving accident fatalities have increased by approximately 14.2% from 2020 to 2021, and accounted for 31% of all auto accident-related deaths in 2021. The NHTSA estimates that approximately 13,384 people died in an impaired driving accident in 2021, averaging one death every 39 minutes.

Two-thirds of drunk driving crash fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of nearly twice the legal impairment limit, the NHTSA reports.

The summer months are historically more dangerous when it comes to auto accidents when compared to other times of the year, and Labor Day weekend has consistently ranked as one of the deadliest holidays on U.S. roadways due to drunk-driving related fatalities.

The agency announced it will put $13.8 million towards this year’s national media campaign, which includes a number of public service messages including: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over; If You Feel Different, You Drive Different; Drive High, Get a DUI; and Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over.

As part of the national campaign, drivers can expect to see increased law enforcement presence on the road and messages warning against impaired driving from August 18 until Labor Day on September 4.

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The NHTSA is reminding the public that it is illegal to drive after consuming alcohol, marijuana, or any other drug, as even one drink can impair a motorist’s ability to drive and safely operate a vehicle. Individuals are urged to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, arrange for someone to drive them home, or use a transportation service in order to ensure they arrive home safely.

“Impaired drivers put everyone, including themselves, at risk,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in the press release. “We’re asking everyone to arrange for a sober ride home. It’s a matter of life and death.”

Anyone who notices an impaired driver on the road is encouraged to call 911 immediately. For more information on impaired driving, individuals may visit the NHTSA’s website, or trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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