‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ initiative underway, enforcing zero tolerance of drunk driving

Sarasota Police Department partnering with federal agency

Image courtesy Sarasota Police Department

In conjunction with the upcoming Labor Day holiday, the Sarasota Police Department again is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives,” the Police Department has announced.

“The high-visibility national enforcement campaign,” Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, began Aug. 14 and will continue through Sept. 2, a news release points out. “During this time and throughout the year, the Sarasota Police Department will show zero tolerance for drunk driving,” the release says.

The increased release of state and national messages about the dangers of impaired driving, along with greater enforcement efforts and the assignment of more officers to traffic patrols, are measures planned “to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways,” the release adds.

According to the NHTSA, 10,874 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2017, the release points out. “On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2013 to 2017,” the release continues, noting that, on average, one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 48 minutes in 2017. “It’s why the Sarasota Police Department works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with NHTSA, to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death,” the release says. “As you head out to Labor Day festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

“Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road,” the release continues: Drug-impaired driving is a growing problem on the nation’s roads. If drivers are impaired by any substance — alcohol or drugs — they should not get behind the wheels of vehicles, the release stresses. “Driving while impaired is illegal,” it adds. “The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. 

“Labor Day should be a time for friends and family to come together to enjoy the last days of summer,” said Officer Tim Bales, a member of the Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit, in the release. “We need commitment from our community members that they’ll keep the streets free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe holiday,” he added in the release. “Help us put an end to this senseless behavior.”

Numerous resources are available to enable drivers to get home safely, the release notes.

The Police Department offers the following suggestions in an effort to stop impaired driving:

  • “Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage,” designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride-sharing service to get home safely.
  • Ride-sharing options are provided by AAA Tow to Go, Uber, Lyft and taxis.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact 911 or your local law enforcement agency.

• Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the friend’s keys and plan a way to get your friend home safely.