Let's hope, one day, that such public safety announcements won't be necessary.
Once again, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joins with safety advocates and law enforcement officials to announce the Department's annual Labor Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown on drunk drivers. It begins mid-August.
With an average of one person losing their life every 51 minutes due to an alcohol-impaired driving crash, this year's announcement includes a special focus on both the personal and economic costs of drunk driving.
According to a 2014 NHTSA report, crashes caused by drunk drivers cost the nation $47 billion in direct economic impacts an average cost of $152 for every person in the U.S., and rose to $195 billion when the overall harm to society due to loss of life and quality of life was included.
“Drunk driving is a deadly and preventable crime that destroys lives and costs the nation billions of dollars every year," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With the help of law enforcement around the country, we are going to continue doing all that we can to stop drunk driving and the needless tragedies that result from this reckless behavior."
This year’s high visibility enforcement campaign comes in time for the Labor Day holiday and the unofficial end of summer. More than 10,000 people die each year in drunk driving crashes and 35 percent of these fatalities are passengers, occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants. In addition, NHTSA data shows that injuries resulting from a drunk driving crash cost victims not only financially, but also through a huge impact to their overall quality of life.
In crashes caused by drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of .08, the average economic cost of a minor injury is approximately $22,000, with additional losses related to quality of life totaling more than $25,000. These costs increase based on the severity of the injury, with critical injuries resulting in economic costs of more than $1.1 million and lost quality of life valued at nearly $5 million.
“The costs of drunk driving — in lives and economic harm — are far too high for anyone to ever get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking," said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “Do not make one of the last wonderful days of summer the final tragic day of your life – or someone else’s – by driving after drinking. Remember to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."
More than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country will support the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign beginning August 15 and continuing through the Labor Day holiday weekend.