trafficEvery three hours in the U.S., a drunk-driving crash claims the life of someone who was not driving drunk.

With that sobering statistic in mind – and just in time for a long holiday weekend that will, for some people, involve both driving and imbibing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched its annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown on drunk drivers. 

Sending a message

Now through September 2, more than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country will be out in force to crackdown on impaired drivers for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown. 

“We’re sending a message today that we will not tolerate drunk driving, so if you have had too much to drink, don’t get behind the wheel,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  

This year’s announcement included a special focus on the victims of drunk driving, as NHTSA data show that every three hours in the United States, a drunk-driving crash claims the life of someone who was not driving drunk.

Innocent victims

“Drunk driving remains a serious, deadly crime that all too often destroys the lives of innocent victims,” said Foxx.  

Nearly 10,000 people are dying each year in drunk driving crashes: 27 people a day, or one person every 53 minutes, according to NHTSA data. More than one-third of those killed in drunk driving crashes are not the drunk driver. 

In 2011:

  • 3,371 people were killed in drunk driving crashes who were not the drunk driver.
  • 1,612 were passengers in a drunk driver’s vehicle, many of them too young to drive, including 91 children under the age of 15 years old. 
  • 1,049 were motorists of other vehicles involved in a crash with a drunk driver.
  • 710 were pedestrians or bicyclists.
  • 6,507 were the drunk drivers themselves.

Ad campaign

The campaign will be promoted via a $14 million national advertising campaign that sends the message that law enforcement officers are vigilant to the signs of impaired driving and committed to enforcement.

Additional information on drunk driving can be found in NHTSA's latest issue of SAFETY 1N NUM3ERS, an online monthly newsletter on hot topics in auto safety – including problem identification, people at risk and recommended practices and solutions to mitigate injury and death on our nation's roadways.