Drinking and Driving Don’t Mix

Media Contact:
Arshon Howard
Chief of Community Relations
(302) 744-2675
Arshon.Howard@Delaware.gov

OHS increases DUI enforcement

November 21 – December 26, 2021

 

[DOVER, Del.] November 18, 2021 — The holiday season is upon us, and this year, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) wants you to give others the gift of holiday safety by pledging not to drink and drive.

During the 2020 winter holiday season, there were 2,646 crashes and 9 deaths on Delaware roads. One-third of those deaths (3) and about 5% (128) of the crashes were DUI-related.

The problem isn’t Delaware’s alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving is a problem on our nation’s roads every day, but it’s more prevalent during the holidays. Nationally, during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2019, there were more drunk-driving-related fatalities (210) than during any other holiday period that year.

Oh what fun it is to ride safely

But we’ve asked, and you’ve listened. Here in Delaware, we’ve seen our numbers trending down.

  • In 2019, there were 3,083 holiday season crashes and 12 fatalities. 129 of those crashes and 4 of those fatalities were DUI-related.
  • In 2018, there were 3,612 holiday season crashes and 15 fatalities. 137 of those crashes and 6 of those fatalities were DUI-related.

While these figures represent a decrease in the first state’s DUI-related crashes and fatalities over the winter holiday season, there’s still more we can do to protect ourselves and others.

“The holidays are known for being merry and bright, but they’re also known for being one of the deadliest seasons when it comes to drunk driving. Every holiday season, lives are lost due to impaired drivers,” says Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

“These tragedies are preventable. That’s why we’re asking all Delawareans to commit to keeping the roads free of drunk drivers, so that everyone can have a safe holiday. One way to do that is by celebrating this holiday season with a plan that includes a sober driver.”


Have a Plan Whether You’re Driving, Riding or Hosting:

  • Before drinking, plan a safe and sober ride home, such as a designated driver, ordering a ride through your phone, or by calling a cab.
  • Don’t let someone get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.
  • If you’re hosting a gathering, make sure all your guests have a sober ride home.
  • If you see an impaired driver, call 911. And always wear your seat belt — it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.

What we’re doing

MADD: Tie One On For Safety

Law enforcement officers across the state are partnering with OHS to remind drivers it is never okay to drink and drive. From Friday, December 10th

through Sunday, December 26th, Delaware drivers will see more officers on the roads as part of an active DUI-enforcement campaign. The increased enforcement aims to motivate drivers to not drive under the influence of alcohol, as well as remind them of the consequences and dangers of drunk driving.To reinforce the message that drinking and driving doesn’t mix, the Office of Highway Safety is also partnering with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

This years marks the 35th year of MADD’s ‘Tie One On For Safety’ campaign, which asks people to tie a red ribbon on their car antennas as a visible reminder to designate a sober, non-drinking driver.

To support our shared mission of preventing drunk driving deaths, OHS will be handing out 1,000 red ribbons at Milton’s Winter WonderFEST.


Other Holiday Hazards

Drunk driving is not the only concern during the holiday season. That’s why OHS is conducting its annual Safe Family Holiday campaign that runs between Christmas and New Year’s, and highlights traffic safety dangers that are more prevalent during the holiday season.

Now that it’s getting darker earlier, it’s even harder for drivers to see pedestrians. To make sure everyone arrives alive, the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) encourages all pedestrians to carry a flashlight or wear reflective/light-colored clothing. OHS also asks drivers to slow down and to be on the lookout for pedestrians – especially in neighborhoods.

The cold, winter weather also poses challenges for drivers. Rain, sleet, and ice can impact a driver’s steering and stopping abilities – making a driver’s reaction time even more critical. To help reduce dangerous distractions in the car and keep drivers’ eyes on the road, drivers should already have their directions set and routed before they even leave the driveway. Winter storms can also come on suddenly, so drivers should check the latest weather warnings and traffic and road conditions before they head out.

To remind drivers of the extra road risks during the holidays, OHS is conducting several additional enforcement campaigns:

  • Law enforcement officers across the state will place a special emphasis on enforcing pedestrian safety laws from November 27th through December 19th.
  • There will also be exta enforcement around occupant protection and distracted driving starting November 21st and running through December 19th.

DE OHS logoAbout the Delaware Office of Highway Safety

The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues, such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. Follow OHS on ArriveAliveDE.comFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat.


“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign Emphasizes Planning Ahead for a Safer Labor Day

The annual awareness and educational effort offer tips for preparing for a safe holiday weekend, plus a new online tool that demonstrates the various dangers of impaired driving.

DOVER, Del. (Aug. 20, 2021) — Labor Day weekend is historically one of the deadliest times of the year on roadways in Delaware and nationwide. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Labor Day weekend typically generates an increase in drunk-driving deaths. During the 2019 holiday, 451 traffic deaths occurred nationwide, with 45% of those involving a driver who had been drinking. During the 2020 Labor Day holiday weekend in Delaware, there were 76 impaired-related crashes, resulting in 46 injuries and five fatalities.

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS), in partnership with NHTSA, has once again activated the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired-driving campaign with the objective of protecting people from the dangers of impaired driving as they travel on Delaware roadways. The campaign aims to transform risky driving behaviors into responsible actions that can prevent crashes, injuries, and death – as well as fines and other penalties. The campaign and mobilization launched on Wednesday, Aug. 18, and continues through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6.

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign:

  • Educates the public on impaired driving laws and the potential consequences of driving while under the influence.
  • Demonstrates the dangers of impaired driving through interactive tools — such as OHS’ new “When You Drink and Drive, You’re Not All There” Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) tool.
  • Encourages people to plan ahead if they plan on drinking or hosting an event with alcohol to ensure everyone has a safe ride home.

Celebrating Success – and Maintaining it

“According to NHTSA, one person is killed approximately every 52 minutes in a drunk-driving crash, totaling more than 10,100 lives lost each year,” said Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “However, in 2019, these numbers reached their lowest percentage since 1982, the year NHTSA first began reporting alcohol data. This demonstrates that we all have the power to change and prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities. One of the greatest motivations is knowing that your responsible behavior can make a positive impact. This is why, especially during this year’s Labor Day mobilization and campaign, we are working to empower Delawareans to focus on the positive change people can make – and are making – one driver at a time.”

The combination of Labor Day weekend being the unofficial “last hurrah” of the summer season coupled with people longing to get outdoors and socialize after 18 stressful months of the COVID-19 pandemic is a recipe for potential disaster. OHS suggests Delawareans include the “Arrive Alive” strategy as part of their overall holiday planning.

 

OHS offers these tools and tips for planning, driving, and hosting responsibly:

  1. Designate and/or “download” your driver. Determine your preferred source for getting a safe ride to and from your destination if you decide to drink.
    • Relying on a friend: Connect with them ahead of time to ensure they don’t plan on drinking.
    • Using a rideshare service such as Uber, Lyft, or NHTSA’s SaferRide: Download the mobile app (for Android devices and iOS) to your phone before you head out to celebrate.
    • Calling a cab: Keep a list of local cab options on your phone.
  2. If you’re serving alcohol, help guests at your gathering get home safely. Party hosts can create a unique rideshare code to offer guests a sober ride home. If that is beyond your budget, make signs listing cab companies with phone numbers and a public transportation schedule to hang in your restroom, on your door, and near your drink station.
  3. Be a friend. If you see someone drinking too much and/or behaving as if they have, keep them from getting behind the wheel. Take their keys and call them a cab or arrange for a ridesharing option.
  4. Be in the “smart seat.” If you’re heading out as a driver or passenger, always buckle your seat belt before starting the vehicle. On the road, if you see a vehicle swerving, speeding, going excessively slow, or somehow indicating its driver may be under the influence, pull over immediately and call 9-1-1.
  5. Be aware of when you’re “not all there.” You can’t trust yourself when you drink. Put the keys away and grab a sober friend, call a taxi, or take public transportation home.

young man sitting in driver's seat holding a steering wheel imitating stepping on a gas pedal in an invisible car.young man sitting in driver's seat holding a steering wheel imitating stepping on a gas pedal in an invisible car.

Visit OHS’ new “When You Drink and Drive, You’re Not All There” Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) tool. Use this tool, available in both English and Spanish by activating the language toggle icon, to explore impairing effects on different parts of the body and learn how critical driving skills deteriorate when a person reaches varying levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

 

 

Impaired Driving Statistics for Delaware

Over the period of five years, from 2016 to 2020, September was the deadliest month of the year on Delaware roadways. 48% of impaired crashes occurred between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., with 58% occurring on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. In terms of age, 31% of impaired drivers were 20 to 29 years old.

 

Media Contacts:

AB&C, Jenn Buchman, jbuchman@abccreative.com

DOHS, Veronica Marshall, veronica.marshall@delaware.gov

 

delaware office of highway safety logo

About the Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues, such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. Follow OHS on ArriveAliveDE.comFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat.