Law enforcement is launching a new campaign starting Friday aimed at deterring drunken driving and hopefully save lives, Jessamine County attorney Brian Goettl said.
The Jessamine County law enforcement community is joining with law enforcement throughout the nation for the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign which will run Aug. 17 to Sept. 3.
Wilmore Police Chief Bill Craig, Jessamine County Sheriff Kevin Corman and Nicholasville Police Chief Barry Waldrop said that their officers and deputies will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving impaired.
The peak times of enforcement with be between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most of the accident caused by alcohol occur and nearly 80 percent of which are fatal, Goettl said.
“On average there is one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality every 51 minutes across America. But this tragic loss of life can be reduced if we get impaired drivers off our roadways,” Goettl said. “Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign reduces alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Jessamine County’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period.”
The nationwide impaired-driving crackdown will include high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events, and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb alcohol impaired driving through the Labor Day holiday weekend.
It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter. Despite these laws, in 2010 more than 10,000 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was impaired, Goettl said.
During the Labor Day weekend in 2010, 147 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with BACs of .08 or higher. Of those fatalities, 80 percent occurred from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“This is really no different than any other effort to stop drunk driving,” Goettl said. “I don’t have the specific numbers for Jessamine County but it’s statically higher across the board during this time of year.”
Among 18- to 34-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2010 Labor Day weekend, 54 percent were alcohol-impaired.
“Obviously, we want to remind everyone that it is illegal to drive impaired, and we hope the campaign will remind people that if they plan on drinking, to never get behind the wheel,” Goettl said. “But if someone does choose to drive impaired, they will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”
Violators face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work and the potential loss of job.
When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment, Goettl said.
“Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk. Don’t take the chance, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,’” he said.