"Drive sober, or get pulled over" is the message being sent to drivers of cars all across the U.S. in a new drunken driving campaign organized by municipal law enforcement as well as the National Highway Traffic Association, or NHTSA; Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD; the Governors Highway Safety Association; and the National Center for DWI Courts.
More than 10,000 police departments across the U.S. will be involved in the nationwide crackdown, which doubles efforts from now through Labor Day. In addition, a nationwide TV advertising campaign will convey the message that law enforcement is vigilant in deterring drunken driving. The ads feature "invisible policemen" -- actors who underwent 10 hours of makeup and costuming to blend into their environments, making them "invisible."
Alcohol-impaired deaths accounted for nearly one-third of highway deaths, according to the latest NHTSA research. In 2010, there were 10,228 alcohol-impaired fatalities. That's the equivalent of 11 jumbo jets crashing each year, says NHTSA. In addition, 1.4 million drivers were cited for drunken driving in 2009 (the most recent data available), according to the FBI. In addition to raising car insurance rates for the drivers cited, drunken driving costs each American adult almost $500 a year, according to NHTSA data.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing practical financial advice for consumers and insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Twitter @SheDrives.