Labor Day is just around the corner, marking the end of a great summer. It’s a time to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of our country, but, sadly, the Labor Day holiday has also become one of the deadliest, with drunk drivers endangering themselves and others on our roadways. That’s why the Wyandot County Safe Communities Coalitional has teamed up with local law enforcement agencies and the Ohio Department of Transportation to kick-off this year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. This high-visibility national enforcement event, which runs now thru September 2, 2019, is a zero tolerance period where local law enforcement target drunk driving. The goal is to stop, or drastically reduce, drunk driving on our nation’s roads, and ultimately save lives.
People might be surprised just how many impaired drivers are on our roadways. In 2018, over 26,000 Ohioans were cited by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and those are just the individuals that got caught! Worse yet, over 400 people were killed in Ohio due to impaired drivers. Locally, in Wyandot County, 156 OVI citations were issued by law enforcement agencies.
According to Mike Hetzel, Wyandot County Sheriff, almost every year we lose someone on our local roads due to impaired driving. “When you look at the statistics over the last 10 year, over 30% of our local traffic fatalities are alcohol related. This is exactly why law enforcement has zero tolerance for driving under the influence.” said Hetzel. “There’s an old law enforcement saying; ‘booze, belts or speed contribute to a majority of traffic fatalities.’ When you mix alcohol with excessive speed and/or not using a seatbelt, your chance of being in a serious injury crash or fatal accident just went up. Unfortunately, this is what we see locally.”
Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road: Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem on our nation’s roads. If drivers are impaired by any substance—alcohol or drugs—they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Driving while impaired is illegal, period. The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. It’s that simple, so please help make this the safest Labor Day in years by;
● Not drinking and driving. Designate a sober driver ahead of time.
● Not letting someone that has been drinking behind the wheel.
● Reporting impaired drivers on the road, call 911. Your actions could save a life.
The Wyandot County Safe Communities Coalition, local law enforcement agencies, and Ohio Department of Transportation want you to plan ahead when you know you’ll be drinking this Labor Day, there’s always another way home. And remember, it only takes a second to become a statistic. Be safe, be smart, and drive sober as you travel the roadways.
For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit Wyandot County Public Health’s Facebook page, or visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.