ARLINGTON, Va. — Editor's note: The video attached to this article is from story WUSA9 did in April 2019.
More than 11,000 people are killed every year in drunk-driving crashes, and the numbers only increase over holiday weekends, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA).
In an effort to help curb those preventable deaths, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) will be participating in the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" program from Aug. 17 to Monday, Sept. 5. Motorists will see extra patrols on duty apprehending impaired drivers and increase messages about the dangers of driving under the influence.
The program focuses on law enforcement and its goal to reduce drunk driving on roadways through the approach of education and enforcement. The campaign will highlight the increase in law enforcement presence to deter people from drinking while driving.
According to NHTSA, nearly 11,700 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide in 2020, involving an alcohol-impaired driver. During last year's Labor Day holiday, there were a total of 530 fatal crashes nationwide, and 38% of those involved impaired drivers.
Throughout the month of August and Labor Day weekend, ACFD and NHTSA are encouraging motorists partaking in any festivities to celebrate with caution and plan to get to their destinations safely.
ACFD and NHTSA are working together to remind drivers of the implications of drunk driving: it is not only illegal, but it is also a matter of life and death. Officers with ACFD will be on the lookout during the Labor Day period for drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol throughout the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement period.
The ACPD encourages community members to follow these tips to ensure all motorists reach their destinations safely:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
- If you see a suspected impaired driver on the roadway, report to your local law enforcement. To report a suspected impaired driver in Arlington County, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
- Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
ACFD emphasize taking the keys away and setting up arrangements to get your friend home safely if they consider driving after a drink or two.