During the upcoming July 4 holiday period, nationwide projections indicate the number of Americans who plan to travel 50 miles or more away from home could top 47-million travelers, according to the American Automobile Association.
Law enforcement records show a pattern of increased consumption of alcohol by many drivers during the summer holiday period.
Statistics from the 2016 Fourth of July reporting period reveal a fateful fact that 188 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Compared to 2015, this is a 28 percent increase.
The Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement agencies will assign additional personnel to saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints beginning June 28 through July 9. This effort is part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign designed to educate, identify and apprehend drunk drivers.
“No matter your age, if you’ve been drinking or may be impaired in any manner, you should find a safe and sober ride to your destination or face the likelihood of being arrested,” said Col. Bill Bryant, director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety representative. “We will show no tolerance and accept no excuses in our dedication to protect travelers, not only during the holiday, but all year long.”
The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office recommends these alternatives to drinking and driving:
— It’s never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely. Plan a safe way home before you leave.
— If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi or someone who is sober to get you home.
— If you see a drunk driver on the road call 911.
— If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.
— Buckle up, always. Your seat belt is your best defense against the drunk driver.
For more information on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.
Information about Arkansas’ ongoing “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign to eliminate preventable traffic deaths can be found at TZDarkansas.org.