The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a nationwide crackdown on drunk driving this holiday season.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the education and enforcement initiative will include reminders to drivers that police and other agencies will be vigilant in seeking out drunk drivers, The Washington Post reports. “We’re making gains in our fight against drunk driving, but we cannot and will not let up,” LaHood said in a statement.
The government is creating awareness of the dangers of drunk driving through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” $7 million advertising campaign. The ads, which will run through January 2, portray drunk drivers being arrested.
Last week, the NHTSA released a report that found an estimated 31 percent of driving deaths were linked to alcohol in 2010, compared with nine percent of deaths caused by distracted driving. The report found that overall, highway deaths fell last year to the lowest level in six decades, even though Americans are driving more.
A total of 32,885 people died in vehicle crashes in the United States last year. Of those deaths, 10,228 were related to alcohol. Deaths linked to alcohol fell 4.9 percent from 2009 to 2010, the report noted.