It is that time of year again – we have a three day holiday approaching and multiple law enforcement agencies are beginning to conduct DUI patrols in St. Johns County as part of an initiative to keep the streets and highways safer as the long Labor Day weekend approaches. The agencies, including the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Highway Patrol, St. Augustine Police Department and St. Augustine Beach Police Department will be out in a joint effort to remove impaired drivers from the road.
The Florida Highway Patrol will also be participating in the national campaign “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” which began Friday and runs through the Labor Day holiday weekend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people die in drunken driving crashes every year. “DUI checkpoints are very important because more people die in traffic crashes than all crimes combined,” said News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith. That’s one of the reasons why law enforcement officers will be on the hunt for drivers who are impaired or have been drinking.
Just because the saturation patrol is happening now, Smith said, drivers should know that police are looking for impaired drivers every single day.
“This is actually something they do monthly, not just now. DUI checkpoints are something they set up just about every month. And it’s really important to keep the accidents down and to make sure people are not drinking and driving,” Smith said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 83 percent of drunken driving crashes happened between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. over the 2014 Labor Day holiday.
Here are some DUI facts:
- United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 of higher). In 2014, there were 9,967 people killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average, over 10,000 people have died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk-driving crashes.
- Over the Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. August 29 – 5:59 a.m. September 2) in 2014, there were 401 crash fatalities nationwide. Almost half (48%) of those fatal crashes involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC); 40 percent involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC); and more than a fourth (28%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the illegal limit (.15+ BAC).
- In 2014, approximately 1 in 5 children killed in traffic crashes (14 and younger) were passengers in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-six percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.
- In addition to the human toll drunk driving takes on our country, the financial impact is devastating as well: based on 2010 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes cost the United States $44 billion annually.
- In every State, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, yet one person is killed in a drunk-driving crash every 53 minutes in the United States.
- Of the 9,967 people killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2014, 64 percent were the drunk drivers themselves.
- In fatal crashes during the month of August over the five-year period of 2010-2014, almost 1 out of 10 (7%) of the drunk drivers involved had one or more previous convictions for drunk driving.
- Men are more likely than women to be driving drunk in fatal crashes. In 2014, 23 percent of males were drunk in these crashes, compared to 15 percent for females.
- Drunk driving is more common at night, and Labor Day weekend in 2014 was no exception. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday period, 83 percent of drunk-driving crash fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.
- Among the drivers between the ages of 18 and 34, who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2014, 51 percent of those fatalities involved a drunk driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.
- Motorcycle riders have the highest overall rate of alcohol impairment in fatal crashes. In 2014, 29 percent of the motorcycle riders killed were riding impaired.
Resources for Safe Driving
- Remind drivers in your community to always designate a sober, reliable driver to get them home safely.
- Encourage drivers to download the NHTSA SaferRide app, available for Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en) and Apple (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so they can be picked up.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident as a result of drunk driver, contact us at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation at (904)399-1609 or (866)366-1609 or email us us firstname.lastname@example.org To learn more tips for driving safely on Labor Day weekend, click here. http://www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober/index.html