WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with law enforcement agencies across Arkansas to spread awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. Starting December 16, 2022, through January 1, Arkansas State Troopers and law enforcement officers from local departments will work to get impaired drivers off the road.

 The Arkansas State Police and Highway Safety Office recommend these safety tips for driving.

  • It’s never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely. Plan a safe way home before you leave
  •  Call a taxi, ride-share service, or designated driver if you have been drinking.
  •  If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1
  •  If you know someone who is about to operate a motor vehicle while impaired, take their keys and assist them in making arrangements to get to their destination safely.
  •  Always buckle up.

According to NHTSA, 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in 2020. Additionally, reports say one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes. In a release from Arkansas State Police, Colonel Bill Bryant expressed the importance of this matter.

Drivers must act responsibly and refrain from driving if they’ve consumed a beverage containing alcohol. The holidays are a particular time of year for everyone, and it’s our job in state and local law enforcement to keep the highways and streets safe for everyone by arresting anyone driving while impaired.

Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative

According to the release, Federal laws in most states around the country make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher. Suppose a driver is convicted of driving while intoxicated. In that case, the person could face jail time, lose their driver’s license, pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, court fines, higher insurance premiums, and experience lost wages. 

Arkansas State Police advised that designated drivers are valuable for reducing impaired driving. If you are a designated driver, stay hydrated with water and other non-alcoholic beverages and actively support other designated drivers. Although this role can be challenging, it is essential as passengers, pedestrians on the street, and other drivers are counting on you. Designated drivers should always be sober and drive safely while on the road.

The Arkansas Highway Safety Office asks everyone to remember, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”.

For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.