Local deputies will be out in full force as part of the annual nationwide Fourth of July Holiday "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" substance-impaired driving crackdown. The crackdown, which will include high-visibility enforcement through Lawrence County, will run from June 30 to July 4.
The effective nationwide substance-impaired driving crackdown will include high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb substance-impaired driving over the Fourth of July holiday.
The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office said its deputies will be aggressively looking for substance-impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving impaired.
Although it is illegal in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive impaired (having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), far too many people across the nation get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol. Not only are alcohol impaired drivers a threat to others, new statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate drugged driving has now surpassed drunk driving in fatal crashes. NHTSA's research shows in 2015, drugs were present in 43 percent of the fatally-injured drivers more frequently than alcohol was present.
"Every year, about one-third of all motor vehicle traffic deaths involve one or more substance - impaired drivers or motorcycle operators," said Sheriff Brad DeLay. "In 2016, 233 people were killed and 700 seriously injured on Missouri's roadways in crashes that involved at least one substance-impaired driver." That works out to approximately one substance-impaired driver involved fatality every 1.75 days.
DeLay added the Fourth of July holiday is particularly dangerous. During the Fourth of July holiday July 1-4, 2016, two people were killed and 10 seriously injured involving at least one substance-impaired driver.
"Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign reduces substance-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Lawrence County's roadways safer for everyone thought the holiday," said DeLay.
"We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel impaired is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does being under the influence impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should, drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do chose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses," DeLay said.
DeLay noted that being arrested for driving under the influence of any substance brings a wide range of negative consequences into one's life. Substance-impaired drivers face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment.
"Driving while impaired is simply not worth the risk. So don't' take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force and we will be watching, so 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,'" said DeLay.
For more information, visit the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" Campaign Headquarters at www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov, or www.saveMOlives.com.