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U.S. Department of Transportation Unveils Campaign To Keep Drunk Drivers Off Road

By McCarton Ackerman 12/24/15

A new holiday ad campaign by the Department of Justice urges people to remain sober while driving. 

Drive sober or get pulled over. Shutterstock

As more travelers hit the highway to see loved ones or return home from visiting them during the holiday, this inevitably means more people will get behind the wheel drunk during this time. The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking action to address this with a new ad campaign designed to keep drunk drivers off the road.

The new ad campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, will run in movie theaters across the country through Jan. 1, immediately before showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It will also air on TV and digital outlets during this time.

“We hope the millions of Americans who will be on the road over the holidays will make the safe choice not to drink and drive,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Across the country, local law enforcement officers will be on the roads, protecting all of us from the risk of drunk driving.”

Christmas remains one of the more dangerous periods of the year to be on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an average of 36 fatalities per day due to a drunk driver, but that rises to an average of 45 per day during the Christmas period. About 40% of all traffic-related deaths between Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers, a 12% spike from the rest of December. AAA estimates that nearly 28,000 Americans will be severely injured in accidents during this same time period and 250 in total will die.

However, the number of alcohol-related accidents on Christmas is still less than the amount on other major holidays including New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Independence Day. But since Christmas falls on a Friday this year, the National Safety Council estimates those numbers will be slightly higher in 2015.

The worst Christmas in recent history for alcohol-related auto deaths was in 2001, when 575 people were killed.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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