DriveSoberDec13-1For many Arkansans the Labor Day holiday is an extended weekend that includes backyard cookouts and celebrations enjoyed with friends and family. Unfortunately the holiday is often marred with tragedy and death caused by drunk drivers traveling across state roads and highways.
Starting on August 15th and continuing through September 1st, state and local law enforcement officers will be aggressively targeting their patrols in search of drunk drivers.  The enforcement plan is part of a nationwide effort designed to stop drunk driving and save lives.  The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will pair increased public awareness with high visibility law enforcement, resulting in fewer drunk drivers getting behind the wheel of a vehicle endangering themselves and others.
Across the nation during calendar year 2012 there were 10,322 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.  Over the Labor Day weekend that same year, almost 40 percent of all traffic fatalities involved drunk driving.
“These grim facts should speak for themselves, but the message hasn’t gotten everyone’s attention yet,” said Lt. Kevin Russell, Benton Police Department Public Information Officer.  “That’s why the Benton Police Department and will be joining other agencies across the country in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk.  There will be no tolerance, no excuses.”
There were 552 traffic fatalities on Arkansas roadways during 2012. Twenty-six percent, or 143 of those fatalities involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
“Drunk driving is totally preventable and inexcusable,” said Lt. Russell. “We’re hoping that drivers get the message and take some simple steps to prevent this kind of tragedy.  There’s always another way home.”
The Benton Police Department reminds drivers to plan ahead and designate a sober driver if they plan to consume alcohol.  Calling on a friend, using a taxi, or some other safe form of transportation can save lives.