Drunk driving is no accident-nor is it a victimless crime. Every year we continue to see far too many people suffer debilitating injuries or the loss of their loved ones as a result of impaired driving. This careless, vicious cycle must come to an end. What will it take for Americans to understand the dangers of driving while impaired? When is enough, enough? Where is the outrage? There must be an urgency to remove impaired drivers from our nation’s roads.
During 2006 alone, more than 13,000 people were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. The picture for motorcycle riders is particularly bleak. Forty-one (41%) percent of the 2,007 motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2006 had BAC levels of .08 or higher.
The human toll is only half the picture. Crashes cost the Nation billions of dollars each year. Drunk driving is not only dangerous, but also a serious, costly crime at best. That’s why local law enforcement officers will be out in force to arrest impaired drivers wherever and whenever they find them during this year’s Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest (August 15 – September 1, 2008) crackdown.
Driving impaired is just not worth the risk. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant. Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and dozens of other expenses.
The truth of the matter is, Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest campaign is a step in the right direction, but it will take more than crackdowns, programs and lowering of the alcohol limit to save lives and keep drunk drivers off the road. It requires personal responsibility – a responsibility that must ultimately rest with the driver.
As a nation, we have made great strides in reducing the deadly cost of impaired driving. The threat to our citizens is dire. Driving impaired is one of the most frequent crimes in America, killing someone every 39 minutes.
With the holiday season closing in on our heels we must pay even closer attention to our road buddies. Remember that there is no excuse for impaired driving that will satisfy a police officer or a court. Do the right thing this holiday season and throughout the year. The next time you decide to put your pedal to the metal, think first. As the old cliché says, “the life you save, may be your own.”
Alcohol, drugs and driving simply don’t mix – don’t take the chance.
Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.
For more information, visit www.Stopimpaireddriving.org.
Trooper Steve Nightengale
Public Affairs Office
Oklahoma Highway Patrol