In advance of Labor Day Weekend next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a new high-visibility enforcement campaign, at a virtual event earlier this month on August 19th.
The event featured U.S. Transportation Secretary, and wife of Mitch McConnell, Elaine L. Chao,
NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens, Mothers Against Drunk Driving National President Helen Witty, and representatives from the California and Tennessee Highway Patrols.
Running until September 7th, the campaign will include an increase in local and state law enforcement in participating areas, monitoring specifically for intoxicated drivers, and will also feature a $10 million advertising campaign, running around the country.
According to Deputy Administrator Owens, “Our campaign’s focus is to raise national awareness about the dangers of driving while impaired, and to prevent future crash fatalities and injuries.”
Labor Day Weekend is the focus of the campaign because, traditionally, the percentage of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities during that weekend is considerably above the annual average.
Holidays are always a time when we see a national spike in the number of motor vehicle accidents. In part, this is due to the fact that many choose to travel by car at that time, whether to see family or just to get a short vacation.
But, it’s also a time when people typically consume more alcohol, usually while celebrating with friends. While no one can be sure how the current pandemic will affect these numbers this year, it’s a safe bet that we will still see a substantial increase.
The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 390 people could die in motor vehicle accidents this Labor Day weekend. According to the most recent data from the NHTSA, there were 10,511 fatalities from accidents involving an intoxicated driver, in 2018 alone.
Impaired driving is illegal in all 50 states, and that is regardless of whether the impairment is caused by alcohol, legal marijuana, or medications, whether they’re prescription or over-the-counter.
So enjoy your Labor Day weekend, and have some much-deserved fun after a trying and stressful year. But, be sure to drive safely, and drive sober. You’ll not only help yourself and others avoid a potentially devastating accident, you’ll also save yourself the cost of an expensive citation.
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