MADD joins effort to stop drunk driving during Labor Day holiday


WASHINGTON — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is joining with law enforcement agencies across the nation as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national crackdown, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

The national campaign for stepped up DUI enforcement runs through Labor Day weekend, one of the deadliest times on the road. This year’s campaign adds a new element, Drive High Get a DUI, which highlights growing concerns about driving while impaired by drugs other than alcohol.

“MADD is proud to support law enforcement who are working to keep roads safe at the end of a very busy summer. This time of year is a dangerous period for road travel, and we need everyone to remember to never drive while impaired by alcohol or any other drugs,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “We can prevent needless deaths and injuries by supporting efforts like Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

NHTSA’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Drive High Get a DUI crackdown mobilizes thousands of law enforcement agencies in all 50 states for sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and increased enforcement, backed by a national advertising campaign.

Research shows that highly publicized, highly visible and frequent sobriety checkpoints reduce alcohol-related fatalities by an average of 20 percent. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving calls for high-visibility law enforcement as a key part of the blueprint to end drunk driving deaths and injuries. That same enforcement tool is effective in catching and preventing drug-impaired drivers.

Drunk driving is the leading killer on our nation’s roads, claiming the lives of 10,497 people in 2016. During the Labor Day weekend, 36 percent of all traffic deaths (155) were caused by drunk driving.

Other startling statistics

  • 800 people died in drunk driving crashes over the Labor Day weekends from 2012 to 2016
  • In 2016, 45 percent of drunk drivers killed were 21 to 35 years old
  • In 2016, 83 percent of fatal drunk driving crashes over the Labor Day weekend occurred between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.
  • In August 2016, 82 percent of drunk drivers involved in deadly crashes were male

“These final weeks of August when vacations are wrapping up and kids are heading back to school can be exciting and fun. The wrong decision can change that in an instant. We urge everyone to be safe, enjoy the Labor Day festivities, and always plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver when plans include alcohol,” Sheehey-Church said.

Staff report