Law enforcement agencies in six Midwest states launching Labor Day weekend impaired and drunken-driving crackdown

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin join nationwide full-force effort to catch impaired motorists over summer-end holiday

Aug 18, 2015, 14:57 ET from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

MATTESON, Ill., Aug. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Law enforcement agencies in six surrounding Midwest states will participate in a nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign that focuses on preventing impaired and drunken driving during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

The 20-day, high-visibility campaign is a partnership that teams public safety and transportation officials in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The crackdown effort is part of a national push from Aug. 21–Sept. 7 (Labor Day) that will show zero tolerance for impaired and drunken driving.

"Our goal is to curb illegal behavior and save lives," said NHTSA Regional Administrator Darin Jones. "We are joining with law enforcement partners to increase state and national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk. Coupled with increased enforcement and additional officers on the road, we aim to drastically reduce the toll of alcohol-impaired driving offenses."

The stepped-up Labor Day effort comes as NHTSA seeks to keep motor vehicle fatalities as low as possible through what can be a very dangerous holiday on the roads. Throughout the country in 2013, there were 10,076 people killed in drunken–driving crashes, almost a third of all traffic fatalities. Thirty-eight percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher), amounting to 161 lives lost. More than a quarter (27 percent) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher – almost twice the illegal limit.

In every state, it's illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. And during the enforcement period starting Aug. 21, there will be a special emphasis on drunken-driving enforcement. Local drivers should expect to see increased enforcement and messaging about this reckless, preventable crime.

NHTSA has made it even easier for motorists to get home safely when they've been drinking. The new SaferRide mobile app (free from the iTunes store and Google Play) can help users call a taxi or a friend for a ride home. The app also helps users identify their location so they can be picked up.

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SOURCE National Highway Traffic Safety Administration