Local law enforcement officers are participating in the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.
The following is an adapted news release from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office:
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is taking part in a national, 20-day crackdown on drunk driving, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
From Aug. 21 through Sept. 7 — Labor Day — law enforcement partners nationwide will show zero tolerance for drunk driving as part of the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.
Local drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles and increased messaging about this crime during the enforcement period.
“The number of people who are still drinking and driving is unacceptable," Sheriff James Manfre said. "In 2014 alone, we made 142 DUI cases, an increase from 124 the previous year.”
Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce the toll of drunken driving.
According to NHTSA 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2013 — almost a third of all traffic fatalities.
Thirty-eight percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher). Those crashes killed 161 people.
More than a quarter (27%) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher — almost twice the legal limit.
Of the 10,076 people who were killed in impaired-driving crashes in 2013, 65 percent were the drunk drivers themselves.
That's all preventable, Manfre said. “All it takes is a little planning ahead," he said. "Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, don’t drink and drive."
The NHTSA has made it even easier to get home safely when you’ve been drinking. The new SaferRide mobile app, free from the iTunes store and Google Play, can help users call a taxi or a friend for a ride home. The app can even help users identify their location so they can be picked up. So this August and year-round, remember that there’s no excuse for drunken driving.
Motorists are urged to immediately report all aggressive and suspected impaired drivers to 911.