As summer winds down, North Reading Police will be out in force looking for impaired drivers. From August 14 to September 4, the North Reading Police Department will be teaming up with Massachusetts State Police and more than 191 local police departments across the state to curb impaired driving and save lives. The 22-day, high-visibility campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is funded by a federal grant administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD).
Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 of higher). In 2015, there were 10,265 people killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average, over 10,000 people have died each year (2010 to 2015) in drunk-driving crashes.
In 2015, approximately 1 in 5 children killed in traffic crashes (14 and younger) were passengers in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-one percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk. As people celebrate the final days of summer, Labor Day weekend is a dangerous time to be on the roads. Over the Labor Day holiday period in 2015, there were 460 crash fatalities nationwide. Forty percent of those fatal crashes involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC); nearly one third involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC); and nearly one fourth (23%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the illegal limit (.15+ BAC).
“Too many people are still making the wrong decision when it comes to drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The statistics don’t lie: drinking and driving causes senseless deaths each and every year – deaths that are always preventable. Make the right call if you are impaired: don’t drink and drive,” said Chief Michael Murphy.
In every state, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. Chief Murphy wants to remind North Reading drivers that driving sober is not a recommendation – it’s the law. During the upcoming enforcement period, there will be a special emphasis on drunk-driving enforcement. Local drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles, OUI checkpoints, and increased messaging about this reckless crime.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new SaferRide mobile app (free from the iTunes store and Google Play) can identify a user’s location and help call a friend for a ride. The app also compiles nearby taxi company phone numbers and reviews and makes it simple to call for a cab.
The North Reading Police also reminds motorists that wearing a safety belt is your best defense against drunk and aggressive drivers and your own mistakes.