Enhanced Holiday Traffic Enforcement Begins

Law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation are participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign that began Dec. 13 and continues until Jan. 1, 2018.

Extra holiday season enforcement to catch impaired drivers has begun by law enforcement agencies across the country. The Florida Highway Patrol, for one, announced it will join thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign that began Dec. 13 and continues until Jan. 1, 2018. FHP will concentrate its enforcement on impaired driving throughout Florida.

"Impaired driving continues to be a priority for law enforcement in the state," explained FHP Director Col. Gene S. Spaulding. "In an effort to get drunk and drugged drivers off Florida roads, FHP troopers will aggressively enforce impaired driving laws to ensure motorists and their families arrive to their destination safely."

Pennsylvania State Police troopers also are participating in dedicated DUI patrols and checkpoints to identify and arrest impaired drivers. "No matter where your holiday celebrations take you, it is important to plan ahead for a safe way home and to never get behind the wheel impaired," said Maj. Edward Hoke, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. "Don't put yourself, your passengers, or others at risk by making the decision to drink and drive."

According to NHTSA, 37,461 people nationwide were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, and 28 percent (10,947) of those fatalities involved a driver who had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of .08. "Driving under the influence has serious consequences that State Police and our local law enforcement partners see every day, which is why we have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to DUI enforcement," Hoke said. "If you drive impaired, you will be pulled over and you will be arrested."

FHP posted these tips to help ensure motorists arrive alive this holiday season:

  • Drive sober, and only sober. Legal age adults should celebrate responsibly and plan ahead by finding a safe way home every time – designate a driver or call a ride service.
  • Observe and obey all speed limits. (In Florida, the limit will never be over 70 mph.)
  • Buckle up because a seat belt is a vehicle's most important safety feature. Florida law requires that all drivers, all front seat passengers, and all passengers under the age of 18 to wear seat belts or appropriate child restraints.
  • Focus on driving and avoid distractions. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the stereo are examples of actions that can take attention off the road. Motorists should always have their hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and mind on driving.

The agency said all uniformed FHP personnel, including those normally assigned to administrative duties, will be patrolling interstates and other major state roads, and FHP Auxiliary troopers will volunteer during the holiday period.

For the Utah Department of Public Safety, its extra enforcement for Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over starts Dec. 15 and will continue until Jan. 1. Officers from law enforcement agencies throughout the state will work more than 300 overtime shifts to deter, detect, and remove drunk drivers from Utah's roads.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol also has reminded motorists to be safe during holiday travel: "Check your vehicle before you travel to ensure that it is in good working condition. Make sure you are well rested before driving to your destination, no matter how short the distance. Keep an eye on the weather, too. Above all, please, please obey all traffic laws, be a courteous driver, and drive sober."

In 2016, there were 885 traffic crashes during the Christmas counting period in Missouri, and five people were killed and another 314 were injured in those crashes. The department's 2017 Christmas holiday counting period begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 22 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 25. "Don't let the excitement of the season distract you from being a safe, courteous driver," said Col. Sandra K. Karsten, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "Be a courteous driver and be an attentive driver this holiday. If you include alcohol in your celebrations, designate a sober driver. On behalf of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, I want to wish everyone a safe, merry Christmas!"

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