FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 13, 2023) – To keep roadways as safe as possible throughout the holidays, law enforcement in Kentucky is joining the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign Dec. 13, 2023 through Jan. 1, 2024.
To raise awareness and kickoff the campaign, state and national highway safety officials joined together for a press conference today at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).
“As Kentuckians begin celebrating the holidays with family and friends, we’re urging everyone to do so responsibly,” said KYTC Office of Highway Safety Executive Director Bill Bell. “Drunken driving-related crashes are 100% preventable. Our ask is simple: plan a sober ride home so your family rings in the new year with joy, not grief.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), impaired driving-related crashes tend to increase during the holidays.
“Nationally, more than 1,000 people died in drunken driving crashes in December 2021 — the most since 2007,” said NHTSA Regional Law Enforcement Liaison Program Manager Frank Enko. “If your celebrations include alcohol, book a safe ride home or designate a sober driver. Our goal is for everyone to arrive to their destination safely.”
In Kentucky, 479 impaired driving-related crashes, resulting in 201 injuries and 16 deaths, occurred during the Christmas and New Year holidays over the last five years.
“Drugs and/or alcohol not only hinder your ability to drive, but also affect your judgment about whether you can or should drive,” said Louisville Metro Police Department Traffic Division Sgt. Ron Fey. “While we aggressively patrol for impaired drivers year-round, joining this effort will make our roadways safer during this heavily-traveled season.”
Former Mothers Against Drunk Driving National President and Kentucky native Alex Otte spoke of her experience and life-threatening injuries sustained when hit by a drunken boater in 2010.
“If you are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and make the decision to get behind the wheel, you put everyone on the road in danger, including yourself,” said Otte. “We need a commitment from every person to keep the roads free of impaired drivers, not just over the holidays, but every day.”
To prevent impaired driving-related tragedies this holiday season, KYTC recommends the following:
- Before festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night;
- If impaired, use a ride-booking company or taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation;
- If you see an impaired driver, safely pull over and contact law enforcement. You may dial the KSP toll-free line directly at 1-800-222-5555 or call 911;
- If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination; and
- Wear a seat belt! It is not only the law, it is the best defense against an impaired driver. Buckling up helps prevent injury and death if involved in a crash.
The press conference was followed by a NHTSA Region 3 meeting consisting of representatives from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
The “Drive Sober” campaign is funded by NHTSA and distributed to law enforcement agencies through each state’s highway safety office.
For more information on drunken driving, visit https://kydrivesoberholiday.com/