ARKANSAS (KNWA) — Law enforcement is looking to save lives this holiday season by keeping alcohol and drug-impaired drivers off the roads.
Arkansas State Police (ASP) said, “don’t find yourself in handcuffs for the holidays.”
You will see more officers on patrol keeping an eye out for those who are impaired behind the wheel.
State and local law enforcement agencies plan to partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this holiday season to “save lives by keeping alcohol and drug-impaired drivers off the roads.”
It’s illegal to drive a vehicle in all 50 states while impaired by alcohol or drugs, according to ASP.
Data from NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS):
- 2018 there were 10,511 people killed in drunk driving crashes, one every 50 minutes
- On average, over a five-year span, 10,000 people are killed each year
- 45% of the drivers killed in fatal crashes who were tested for drugs, tested positive
NTHSA is also attempting to educate the public on the risks of marijuana-impaired driving, “a need highlighted by the results of a NHTSA 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey which showed an increse in THC-positive drivers.”
The agency says many people think that they are safer drivers after using marijuana compared to alcohol, but they don’t understand that they can be charged with a DUI while impaired by pot.
“Almost everyone knows that driving drunk is dangerous, puts lives at risk, and can get you a DUI – but there isn’t the same awareness for marijuana-impaired driving,” said James Owens, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator. “At NHTSA, we are working hard to raise awareness among the driving public that driving impaired by drugs or alcohol is dangerous and illegal in every state. We want to encourage people to think twice before driving and to follow through by designating a sober driver, calling a cab, or using a ride hailing service.”
Overall, drunk-driving related deaths have fallen to their lowest level since 1982, but they still total more than 10,000 per year.
“Driving either drunk or high is a DUI; impairment is impairment,” Owens said. “During this nationwide enforcement campaign and year round, if you drive high, you can get a DUI. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”