Amid a rise in drunk and drugged driving during the pandemic, State Highway Safety Offices are working to keep deadly drivers off the road
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As summer winds down and millions of Americans take to the roads for the Labor Day weekend, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is reminding motorists that State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) and their federal and law enforcement partners are stepping up efforts to reduce drunk and drug-impaired driving, a preventable behavior that puts all road users at risk.
The Labor Day holiday is an especially deadly time for impaired driving, and the risks are even greater than normal this year as traffic volumes increase. More than 10,000 people die each year in crashes involving drunk drivers, and the impacts on younger people are even more pronounced. During the 2019 Labor Day holiday, nearly half (46%) of the drivers aged 18-34 killed in motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of 0.08 or higher. While the impaired driving problem is not new, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released highly concerning evidence pointing to increases in drunk, drugged and multi-substance driving during the pandemic.
To address this persistent and growing highway safety problem, SHSOs and their partners are participating in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” outreach and enforcement campaign. Enforcement of traffic safety laws is a proven countermeasure for changing driver behavior, and GHSA and the SHSOs are working with their partners to ensure it is conducted equitably and in combination with community engagement that increases public awareness of life-saving traffic safety laws. GHSA recently released ten recommendations developed by Kimley-Horn to support more equitable safety outcomes for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
“Labor Day weekend is a great time to get together and celebrate the unofficial end of summer,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “As we’ve done throughout the pandemic, Americans need to keep safety top of mind when behind the wheel. Every single death and injury in an impaired driving crash is preventable. Enjoy the waning days of summer – but do it safely.”
States and their partners are employing a wide range of approaches to combat alcohol and drug-impaired driving, including but not limited to:
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