ELK GROVE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Deadly car crashes involving impaired drivers still account for nearly a third of all traffic deaths in California despite the availability of safer options for people to get home after consuming alcohol.
To help discourage impaired driving and promote the use of a designated sober driver, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are conducting a statewide media campaign that will run through the New Year’s holiday.
The campaign will feature a public service announcement on broadcast television, social media and streaming services, as well as messages on digital billboards, radio, and in select convenience stores, bars and restaurants.
“Driving impaired is a reckless decision that puts everyone sharing the road in danger,” said OTS Director Barbara Rooney. “Through this campaign, we want to encourage drivers to make the right choice by choosing a sober way to go this holiday season. Calling a sober driver, rideshare service or taking public transportation are simple actions that can save lives.”
In 2020, 1,159 people were killed in traffic crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of .08%, a nearly 22% increase from 2019. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one person is killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes in the U.S.
To help drivers reach their holiday destinations safely, the CHP will implement Maximum Enforcement Periods (MEPs) through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
“The CHP will deploy all available resources throughout the state in an effort to remove impaired drivers from California’s roadways,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “This holiday season, no matter where your travel takes you, the CHP wants you to get there safely. Plan ahead, buckle up and never drive impaired.”
Last year, the OTS and Caltrans introduced the “Go Safely” game plan, partnering with sports and event venues throughout the state to encourage fans to have a “game plan” before heading out to events and watch parties where alcohol is served. To learn more about our partners and efforts to have fans stick to a go safely game plan, visit https://gosafelyca.org/go-safely-game-plan/.
“As we celebrate the holiday season with friends and family, remember there is no excuse to drive impaired,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “Caltrans urges everyone to plan ahead and use a designated driver so we can all get home safely.”
Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will join the CHP and deploy additional officers over the holidays to stop suspected impaired drivers. From October 2021 to September 2022, the OTS funded more than 5,000 enforcement operations throughout the state focused on stopping suspected impaired drivers, resulting in nearly 6,000 DUI arrests.
The CHP, OTS and Caltrans remind drivers that driving under the influence of any substance that affects your ability to drive safely is illegal. Over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, and marijuana can all impair.