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‘Drive Sober’ holiday campaign underway

Kentucky is joining a nationwide effort to cut down on crashes involving impaired driving during the holiday season.

From Wednesday through Jan. 1, the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” safety campaign, involving the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety within the Transportation Cabinet, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and law enforcement; reminds Kentuckians to plan safe rides, since they say impaired-driving-related crashes tend to increase during the holidays.

“It’s been a tough year for all Kentuckians, and I want us to have a great Christmas and New Year’s holiday,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “But to keep each other safe, I’ve got to ask you two things. First, please celebrate safely: avoid travel, significantly limit gatherings and use precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while with anyone from outside of your household. Second, please get home safely. Drive sober or plan a safe ride home with someone else to protect yourself and everyone on the road.”

In Kentucky, 547 impaired driving-related crashes resulting in 276 injuries and 10 deaths occurred during the Christmas and New Year holidays over the last five years, according to the Transportation Cabinet.

“While our holiday celebrations may look a little different this year, our message stays the same: Always plan for a sober ride home,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “If you are under the influence of any substance and choose to get behind the wheel, you put everyone on the road in danger, including yourself.”

To prevent impaired driving-related tragedies this holiday season, the Transportation Cabinet recommends the following:
• Before festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
• If impaired, use a ride-booking company or taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation to get home safely.
• If you see an impaired driver, safely pull over and contact law enforcement. You may call the KSP toll-free at 1-800-222-5555 or 911.
• If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get them safely to where they are going.
• Wear a seat belt! It is not only the law, it’s the best defense against an impaired driver.

Buckling up helps prevent injury and death if involved in a crash.
“Impaired driving-related crashes are 100 percent preventable,” said State Highway Engineer James Ballinger. “All we ask is that you make safe choices this holiday season and celebrate responsibly.”