NHTSA Launches “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Labor Day Campaign

As Labor Day weekend approaches, federal highway traffic safety officials have kicked off their annual advertising campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” which is designed to encourage travelers to not drink and drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the drunk driving awareness effort last week, as part of a coordinated effort to raise public awareness about the danger of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and asking travelers to plan ahead if they anticipate drinking.

Alcohol impaired driving accidents account for nearly a third of the annual traffic fatalities each year. The NHTSA estimates that 36,096 people died in all traffic crashes in the United States in 2019, while 10,142 of those fatal crashes involved a driver with an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater.

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According to NHTSA, Labor Day weekend has consistently ranked as one of the deadliest holidays on U.S. roadways. The NHTSA reports a total of 1,116 traffic fatalities over the single holiday weekend between 2014 and 2019. Of those crashes, at least a quarter of drunk drivers had BAC levels at almost twice the legal limit.

The agency announced that  $12 million will be put towards a national paid media campaign which includes a number of public service messages: 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. View ads here: Ride Sober, Drive Sober, Feel Different.

As part of the national campaign, drivers can expect to see increased messaging and law enforcement presence on the road from August 18, through September 6, 2021.

NHTSA Acting Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff stated in the release “Driving impaired, whether under the influence of alcohol or drugs, has devastating consequences and is illegal in every state. Not only do you put yourself at risk, but the lives of others as well,”

While drunk driving accidents account for many of the nation’s preventable roadway deaths, NHTSA officials are also warning drivers to not drive when under the influence of drugs either, as jurisdictions over the last several years have shifted laws on marijuana, making it legal in a number of states.

Individuals are being encouraged to plan a safe ride home, designate a sober driver, or use the NHTSA’s SaferRide app to call a taxi or a friend to be picked up. Those planning to drive should follow the following simple recommendations provided by NHTSA:

  • Remember that it is never okay to drive impaired.
  • Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver, plan to use public transportation, or use a ride service to go out and get back home safely. Even one drink can begin to impair your driving ability.
  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact 911.


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