HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia law enforcement are participating in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving awareness campaign this Independence Day weekend.
Through the campaign, officers will be out working in expanded efforts over the holiday weekend to protect their communities by taking impaired drivers off the roads. City of Huntington Traffic Safety Director Beau S. Evans says the efforts will be conducted in a fair and equitable way.
“We want our community to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday, but we also want responsible drivers on the roads,” said Cpl. Joey Koher of The Huntington Police Department “We repeat this message constantly, but it is still a critical issue: Drunk driving is deadly and illegal. Remember: If you are caught drinking and driving, we will pull you over, and you will likely be arrested. Driving under the influence of any substance will land you a DUI.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 10,142 people were killed in vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver in 2019. Officials say between 6 p.m. on July 3, 2019, and 6 a.m. on July 8, 2019, 515 people died in traffic crashes. 38% of those involved alcohol-impaired driving and almost four out of five of those crashes happened in the evening hours, according to the NHTSA.
The Department of Transportation also says between 2015 and 2019, 1,339 drivers were killed in crashes over the Fourth of July holiday period. Officials report that 38% of thsoe drivers were alcohol-impaired with a BAC of at least .08.
Because more vehicles will be on the roads as Fourth of July festivities wrap up late in the evening, officials are urging people to take precautions while traveling and remember to drive sober.
“Sadly, many people think driving impaired is no big deal,” said Koher. “We’ve seen it all, and we can spot a drunk driver on the road. A DUI will follow you throughout your life, so this is a gamble that’s just not worth taking. Under no circumstances is it ever acceptable to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you’ve been drinking alcohol or partaking in illegal drug use. Doing so endangers you, your passengers, and everyone on the road with you.”
To celebrate the holiday safely, The NHTSA is urging people who plan on drinking to designate a sober driver or plan for transportation. This also applies to those who have only had one alcoholic beverage. Law enforcement also urge people to contact their local police if they do see a drunk driver on the roads.
For more information on impaired driving and the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit the NHTSA website.