Highway Departments On Alert During Holidays
The Governors Highway Safety Association's member agencies are also stepping up their enforcement during the season. According to GHSA, more than 800 Americans die in crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December.
State highway patrols and other law enforcement agencies nationwide are on alert during the 2014 holiday season, knowing this is most dangerous season on the roads.
The California Highway Patrol's Maximum Enforcement Period will start soon, when CHP is reminding travelers to buckle up, adhere to the posted speed limit, avoid distractions behind the wheel, and always designate a sober driver. This enhanced enforcement effort begins Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. and continues through Dec. 28 11:59 p.m. All available officers will be out on the roads for enhanced enforcement efforts and assisting motorists. "Our intent with the enhanced enforcement efforts during the holiday season is simply to save lives," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "We want everyone to have a happy holiday season this year and ensure nobody is forced to deal with the loss of a loved one."
An anti-DUI effort is aimed at eliminating drunk driving by educating Californians about the dangers of driving after consuming alcoholic beverages. According to NHTSA, more than 10,000 people die in crashes each year that involve drunk drivers. Five people died in traffic collisions during last year's MEP enforcement period, and CHP officers made 221 arrests for driving under the influence during it.
"Have a safe, fun, and enjoyable holiday celebration this year," Farrow said. "Just do it responsibly by making the right and responsible decision before you get behind the wheel, and always designate a sober driver."
The Governors Highway Safety Association's member agencies are also stepping up their enforcement during the season. According to GHSA, more than 800 Americans die in crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December. "Unfortunately, far too many people still make the dangerous decision to get behind the wheel after too many drinks, especially during the holidays," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. "Impaired driving contributes to one-third of all highway fatalities, and GHSA and its members remain committed to reducing these preventable deaths."
Drug impairment is a growing issue in many states, according to GHSA, which is launching a project to examine drug-impaired driving research and provide recommendations to help states address this problem. GHSA said highway safety officials in Colorado and Washington state, where recreational marijuana is currently legal, are developing policies and programs to keep drug-impaired drivers from endangering themselves and others, using the "Drive High, Get a DUI" message.
Other agencies' actions include:
- The California Office of Traffic Safety is starting its first designated driver mobile app, which features exclusive offers and discounts for sober designated drivers at bars and restaurants throughout the state. It also connects users to ride sharing services to help them find a safe ride home.
- The Delaware Office of Highway Safety works with corporate partners to host "Mocktail" parties – non-alcoholic cocktail parties that feature safety information, responsible party hosting tips, and samples of "smart" party foods.
- The Maryland Highway Safety Office is unveiling an ENDUI smartphone app; users can create a designated driver list, instantly locate the nearest taxi or public transportation options, estimate their BAC, and take tests to measure their reaction time and response functions.
- The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is starting its campaign with a tour of a county detention center to demonstrate how a DUI arrest is processed. The department also is continuing its Be a S.A.N.T.A. (Sober All Night Totally Awesome) Designated Driver campaign that encourages partiers to designate a driver for a safe trip home.
- The Utah Highway Safety Office is setting up a 22-foot holiday tribute tree at a major shopping center to be decorated with custom ornaments, each of which is honoring a DUI victim by name. The tree will be unveiled at a press conference where the victims’ stories will be shared.