The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ramping up efforts to keep drivers safe during this holiday season.
The agency’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is utilizing both traditional advertisements and an innovative technology to deter motorists from getting behind the wheel under the influence.
“Drunk driving crashes are no accident – they are 100 percent preventable. They all connect back to human choices and errors, but we’re not stopping there,” said Dr. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator. “With the help of our safety partners we’re looking at a technological path forward to create a world where there is no more drunk driving.”
Through Jan. 1, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over advertisements will appear nationwide and law enforcement agencies across the country will be on patrol to protect the public from drunk drivers.
New to this year’s campaign is a virtual experience called Last Call 360 that the public can experience using a mobile phone or computer. The experience creates a virtual bar scene through an interactive 360º video website that uses photospheres, cinemagraphs, videos and gaming. Visitors are able to interact with virtual bar patrons, play games, watch videos, order virtual alcoholic drinks and, most importantly, discover the consequences of drinking and driving, according to the NHTSA.
In addition, new technology called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) helps passively detect a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and prevent drivers from starting a vehicle if they are at or above the .08 legal BAC limit in all 50 states.
Federal and Virginia state officials announced a $5.1 million funding to help further develop and deploy DADSS, technology that could eliminate drunk driving. The technology is a public-private partnership between the government and the world’s leading automakers.
Lastly, NHTSA’s SaferRide app gives drivers the opportunity call a taxi or a friend to be picked up before they get behind the wheel. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play and Apple devices on the iTunes store.
The NHTSA listed multiple facts about drunk driving:
- It is against the law in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for adults over the age of 21 to drive a vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
- In 2015, 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes. The drivers involved in 67 percent of those crashes had a BAC of .15 or higher (nearly twice the legal limit of .08).
- During the 2015 Christmas holiday period (6 p.m. December 24th – 5:59 a.m. December 28th), the nation lost 34 lives per day in drunk driving crashes—a total of 120 deaths over 3.5 days.
- During the New Year’s holiday period (6 p.m. December 31, 2014 – 5:59 a.m. January 5, 2015) the nation lost 31 lives per day in drunk driving crashes—a total of 139 deaths over 4.5 days.
- These two holidays combined accounted for 259 lives lost in drunk driving crashes.
“Each year, too many lives are lost to drunk driving, particularly around the holiday season. Now we have an opportunity to prevent future drunk driving tragedies by taking action today,” said Anthony Foxx , U.S. Department of Transportation secretary in a statement. “We want everyone to be safe this holiday season, which is why we’re urging the public to make the right choice, follow the law and drive sober.”