NHTSA launches winter holiday crackdown on drunk drivers

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New National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research shows that between 2002 and 2006, nearly four fatalities out of 10 involved alcohol-impaired crashes in the last two weeks of December. The new study also found that 21-24 year-old drivers are involved in more alcohol-impaired fatal crashes than any other age group.

“Drunk driving is one of the most serious, and preventable, dangers we face on our roadways,” says NHTSA Acting Administrator David Kelly. “Sadly, the death toll from drunk-driving crashes is higher between Christmas and New Year’s than any other time.”

The new report was released on the eve of a national crackdown against impaired driving that involves thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the country and runs through the New Year’s holiday.

The “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest” law enforcement and public awareness campaign is supported by a $7 million national television and radio advertising campaign. Kelly warned motorists to obey the law and drive sober to avoid being stopped by police.

“Our law enforcement officers are giving up their holiday time with their families to protect us all from drunk drivers,” Kelly says. “Make no mistake about it, violators will get a free ride to jail. So before you go out to celebrate, be responsible and designate a sober driver.”

A copy of the new statistical report, which provides state-by-state holiday drunk driving fatalities by age group, can be viewed at www.nhtsa.gov/reports/811063.html.