If you’re enjoying the holidays with a drink, the Yorktown Police Department has a message for you: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be actively searching for and arresting drunk drivers from December 16 to January 1. They have good reason to: in 2013, 10,076 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. In December 2013 alone there were 733 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. 23 of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day.
“It’s time for all drivers to get the message,” said Chief McMahon of the Yorktown Police Department. “Drunk driving is a choice you make, and when you make that choice, people get hurt or die. That’s why we’re joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share the message: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” The safest way to get home, McMahon said, is to drive sober or catch a ride with a sober designated driver. If you plan on drinking at the holiday party or at a restaurant, hand the keys over to someone else – a sober friend, a taxi or public transportation. Or, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available at http://ow.ly/RWs3S for Android and http://ow.ly/RWs8h for iPhone users.
As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period, police will be increasing the number of patrols, setting up roadblocks, and using local media to reach out to all drivers. If you’re drinking and driving, Yorktown police will stop you. If you’re caught drinking and driving you could face jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses, totaling $10,000 on average. That’s not a small price, and that doesn’t even count the heftier price you could pay: the price of your life or someone else’s.
Some people think that if they get pulled over for driving drunk, they can just refuse a breath test to avoid the DUI charge. “Not true,” said Yorktown Police Lt. Robert Noble. “In most jurisdictions, refusing a breath test means an automatic arrest, and the loss of your driver’s license on the spot.” The only way to truly avoid a DUI is to drive sober or designate a sober driver ahead of time. Erica Stanzione, Director of Communications and Partnerships at the Alliance for Safe Kids, added that there are other options, such as calling a friend, family member, using public transportation, or calling a taxi. The cost of cab fare is nothing compared to a $10,000 DUI or the cost of someone’s life, and the ‘inconvenience’ of not driving your own car home is nothing compared to the inconvenience of spending the holidays behind bars.
In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, Stanzione is calling on everyone to be alert. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely. “We’ve got to work together to make our roads safer this December and year-round,” she said.
“We can’t stand to see this tragic loss of life again and again,” added Noble. “The hardest part of the job is making that house call and telling a family that their loved one is gone because someone chose to drink and drive. That’s why, leading up to the holidays, we will show zero tolerance for drunk drivers on the road. Please find a safe and sober ride home.”
Westchester drivers, please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:
· Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash.
· If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
· If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
Remember, driving after drinking should never be an option. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.