Are annual drunk driving initiatives effective?

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2023 | DUI |

Labor Day 2023 is in the rearview mirror. Notable for multiple drunk driving arrests and accidents, statistics for this year have yet to be revealed. Concurrently, the data on the effectiveness of the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” remains in the “to be determined” category for now.

The media campaign from August 18th to September 4th involves everything from billboards to social media posts hoping to educate motor vehicle operators about impaired driving dangers. Over the years, the effectiveness has been, at best, mixed.

Statistics tell the story

Despite the hype of “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different” and other taglined initiatives, motor vehicle operators under the influence continue to take to the roads throughout the nation if past data from 2021 is any indication:

  • Two-thirds of drunk driving deaths were the result of drivers with a BAC of .15, close to double the legal limit
  • More than 13,000 died in drunk driving accidents, averaging one fatality every 39 minutes, with the previous year at 45 minutes.
  • Fatal crashes alone grew by 14.2 percent, a more than 10 percent increase from 2020 to 2021
  • Overall deaths in crashes numbered 9,027

According to the NHTSA, June, July, and August – traditional summer months – carry more dangers on the road. While not a surprising statistic, the troubling trend can result in catastrophic consequences consistently from year to year.

The consequences of a drunk driving charge and possible conviction can change lives. In addition to the criminal penalties, licensed professionals can see their careers come to an end. For those drivers who are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, an arrest does not mean that a conviction is automatic.