Law enforcement agencies across the state are preparing to provide additional protection for travelers along Arkansas roadways this holiday season.
The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office has joined with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in announcing Arkansas’s participation in the national law enforcement and public media campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
“Focusing on the Christmas and New Year holidays, December 14 – January 1, Arkansas law enforcement agencies will conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints to identify and arrest impaired drivers,” said Colonel Stan Witt, Arkansas State Police Director and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.
“If your celebration includes drinking alcohol, please celebrate responsibly, don’t take a chance, because chances are you’ll be caught,” Colonel Witt stated. “The choice is yours. Designate a driver or one will be appointed for you, straight to jail.”
Last year 34 percent of all the traffic fatalities in Arkansas were alcohol related. This translates into 190 lives lost on Arkansas roadways in one year due to alcohol related motor vehicle crashes.
Colonel Witt said State Troopers will join other state and local law enforcement officers across Arkansas in making sure Arkansas roadways stay safe.
“The Arkansas State Police works every day to reduce the number of injuries and deaths associated with traffic crashes.” Colonel Witt said. “Drunk driving is a crime and will not be tolerated.”
“Drunk driving crashes are not accidents,” said Arkansas Program Manager of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Pam Sell, “These crashes are entirely preventable if motorists would forego a holiday activity that can often lead to tragedy - getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after drinking or using other drugs.”
MADD suggests that party hosts include alcohol-free beverages and protein-rich foods, along with reminding guests to plan ahead and remember the following advice:
If you plan to drive, don’t drink.
If you drink, choose a sober designated driver.
Take a taxicab or ask someone to get you to your designation, if you have been drinking.
Report impaired drivers to law enforcement
Always wear your safety belt, your best defense against an impaired driver.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov, call the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136 or contact MADD at (501) 246-8810.