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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Drunk Driving Enforcement Crackdown Continues Through Holidays

MADD’s $7 Million Campaign Intensifies As Year Comes To An End

As part of the national Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown, this holiday season law enforcement was out in full force, conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to weed out and arrest drunk drivers, as well as to discourage people from driving while intoxicated. The law enforcement efforts were in effect through the New Year's holiday.

High visibility enforcement efforts like the holiday crackdown make up one of the four key elements of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. MADD's Campaign pursues a clear, concentrated, and attainable goal: a country without drunk drivers. This holiday season, American families shared the roads with over an estimated 2.8 million convicted drunk drivers with three or more convictions, and of those, more than 600,000 have five or more convictions.

Before Christmas, a news event was held in Washington, D.C. emphasizing the consequences of a drunk driving arrest, as well as the impact on victims/survivors. Themed "What a Way to Spend the Holidays," the occasion included speakers from the Department of Transportation, the Governors Highway Safety Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, as well as the District of Columbia Police Department and the National District Attorney's Association. The news event kicked off a $7 million advertising media placement that will feature nationwide broadcast ads during the last two weeks of December.

Glynn Birch, MADD’s National President, shared the story of his 21-month-old son Courtney, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1988.

This holiday season, MADD encouraged the public to Tie One On For Safety in support of MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving and the intense holiday law enforcement effort by displaying a MADD red ribbon or red ribbon decal on their vehicles. This sign of support helped increase awareness and show the driver’s promise to drive safe and sober at an annually dangerous time of year.

Decades of evidence prove that drunk driving fatalities increase significantly around major holidays. The national crackdown aimed to reduce those numbers through harsh enforcement tactics that have been proven to effectively save lives. Research shows that highly publicized and highly visible sobriety checkpoints decrease alcohol-related crashes and fatalities by an average of 20 percent. A fear of arrest, serving as a very powerful deterrent to drunk driving, is created by the highly publicized enforcement efforts.

Concentrated enforcement activities took place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The goal was make it clear to motorists that if they drive after drinking, they will be arrested.

The national crackdown sought to connect with everyone, but particularly with men between the ages of 21 and 34. Also targeted were motorcycle operators, repeat offenders and binge drinkers. Intensive, high-visibility enforcement like this holiday's crackdown is one of the key elements of MADD’s year-round Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. Mandatory ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, combined with the development of advanced vehicle-based technology, and the mobilization of grassroots support, this high-visibility enforcement campaign can help make MADD's vision of a nation without drunk driving a reality.

Last November, MADD celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. You can help support the Campaign by always designating a sober driver, using other modes of transportation, and following safe party guidelines.

Schools, parents and communities can learn more about driver education and safety at America's Driver License Headquarters Try a Free DMV Practice Test online!

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