New Labor Day Drunk Driving Campaign for Tennessee

Thursday, August 17, 2006 | 07:00pm

Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest

August 18, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn., — Tennessee’s Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) announced today that they will join thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation during mid-August and the Labor Day holiday to launch an aggressive new crackdown on impaired drivers called: Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest . The new slogan will be utilized in Tennessee for the enforcement period that runs from August 16 to September 4, 2006, and will become a portion of the overall Booze It and Lose It campaign.

Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest crimes. In fact, during 2004, nearly 13,000 people were killed in highway crashes involving an impaired driver or motorcycle operator with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. The picture for motorcycle operators is particularly bleak. Forty-one percent of the 1,672 motorcycle operators who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2004 had BAC levels of .08 or higher.

Approximately 32% of all Tennessee roadway fatalities are alcohol-related. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 50% of all children killed in motor vehicle crashes are victims of alcohol-related crashes.

“Make no mistake. Our message is simple. No matter what you drive – a passenger car, pickup, sport utility vehicle or motorcycle – if we catch you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions. No excuses,” said Colonel Mike Walker, Tennessee Highway Patrol. “We will be out in force conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to get more drunk drivers off the road. We want everyone to play it safe and always designate a sober driver or find a different way home if they have been drinking.”

Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. Although drunk driving fatalities across the nation slightly declined in 2003 and 2004, alcohol-related fatalities are projected to increase in 2005. Moreover, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, more than 1.4 million people were arrested for driving under the influence during 2004.

“If you drive drunk, not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and dozens of other expenses.”

“Is it worth it?” asks Director Kendell Poole, GHSO. “A single DUI conviction could cost you as much as $5,000 or more after all fines and fees have been paid. Instead of throwing your money away on a DUI conviction, think of all the ways you could use $5,000 in a more positive manner. So don’t take the chance. Remember, if you are over the limit, you are under arrest.”

The national Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest . impaired driving campaign is organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.

This year’s effort is supported by $11 million in paid-national advertising to help put everyone on notice that if they are caught driving impaired, they will be arrested.

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