Data show that the time period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day includes some of the most dangerous days for drunk driving deaths, and the national numbers are getting worse in recent years -- as annual drunk driving deaths have decreased, there has been an increase in the proportion of drunk driving deaths around the holidays. On average in 2010, 31 percent of highway fatalities were caused by drunk driving. However, fatalities spike dramatically over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays:
- The proportion of people killed in drunk driving crashes (.08 BAC and above) over the Thanksgiving holiday (includes the day before and the weekend following Thanksgiving) spiked by 30 percent in 2010* compared with the rest of the year.
- The proportion of drunk driving deaths over the Christmas holiday (includes Christmas Eve and the surrounding holiday weekend) in 2010 increased by 14 percent compared with two years prior.
- New Year's Day is the single most dangerous day of the year, with 78 drunk driving deaths in 2010 -- an 178 percent increase over an average day.
MADD's Tie One On For Safety red ribbon campaign, now in its 26th year, is the organization's signature public awareness project. Drivers display MADD red ribbons on their vehicles as a reminder to drive safe and sober, and in support of Arkansas law enforcement officers, who will be out in force as part of the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.
The Arkansas Highway Safety Office announced today that state and local law enforcement agencies will participate in the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," mobilization effort sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The annual enforcement campaign designed to reduce the incidents of drunk driving on city streets, county roads and state highways will begin December 14th and continue through January 1st. During the seventeen day operation Arkansas law enforcement officers will conduct supplemental sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to identify and arrest intoxicated drivers.
The Arkansas Highway Safety Office offers these simple tips for a safe holiday season:
- If you are planning to drink alcohol with friends, designate a sober driver before going out.
- If you're impaired, do not drive. Call a taxi or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
- Promptly report impaired drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement.
- Wear your seat belt because it is your best defense against impaired drivers.
- And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take the keys and help them safely get to their destination.
MADD's Tie One On For Safety red ribbons are available by contacting the MADD Arkansas State Office at (501) 246-8810.
*2010 is the most recent year for which there is data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).