The National Drive Sober Campaign Just Ended. What Now?
Seasons come and go. Summer, with its aura of warmth, freedom, and escape, has come to an unofficial close with Labor Day. Convertibles are being garaged, grills are being covered up, and beach wear is being put in a bag in the closet marked “summer.”
One of the things that Labor Day brings to a close is the national enforcement mobilization called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” Since mid-August you’ve been hearing radio spots, seeing messages on Facebook and Twitter, read press items online, and might even have seen an infographic or two.
The message was always the same: drunk driving is dangerous, and the police are watching out for it.
Now the Drive Sober campaign is over. But you can’t put vigilance against drunk driving away like a beach umbrella or an ATV. Lives matter just as much after Labor Day, and impaired driving is just as much a threat. With luck the casualty numbers will recede with Labor Day traffic, but nothing really changes: each year about 10,000 people die on the nation’s roads because someone chose to drink and drive.
Say you obey the rules, and never get behind the wheel while buzzed. That means you’re not part of the problem, which is great. But you need to do a little more to be part of the solution:
- Be aware of others who might drink and drive. Help them get home, or take their keys. Lives depend on it.
- Work for better legislation against impaired driving. In particular, every state needs to require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Currently 28 states have such laws, which reduce alcohol-related road fatalities by ensuring that DUI offenders don’t become repeat offenders. Find out how your state is doing in the fight against drunk driving and write your legislator to get those laws improved. Even if your state has an all-offender ignition law, some states enforce those laws poorly. Light a fire under lawmakers until something is done.
Autumn is here. The Drive Sober posters will come down, the Facebook posts won’t be as frequent. But people are still driving drunk, and it’s up to us to make it stop.
It’s never out of season to save lives.