NEW YORK – Federal transportation officials joined New York City metropolitan area traffic safety officials today to kick off the largest ever You Drink & Drive – You Lose national enforcement crackdown. Nationwide, a record number of 11,500 law enforcement agencies participated in the coast-to-coast crackdown.
"We encourage anyone drinking alcohol to be responsible and designate a sober driver," said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Jeffrey Runge, M.D. "With checkpoints, roving patrols, undercover officers and concerned citizens, chances are if you drive impaired you will be arrested, booked and prosecuted."
Impaired driving is one of America’s most often-committed and deadliest crimes. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, more than 1.4 million people nationwide were arrested in 2003 for driving under the influence.
Runge released NHTSA’s 2004 state alcohol-related fatalities statistics. Nationally, nearly 13,000 people died in highway crashes involving at least a driver or motorcycle rider with an illegal blood-alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or higher.
Overall, alcohol-related fatalities declined by 2.4% in 2004 from 2003, the second consecutive year in which alcohol-related fatalities have declined. A total of 32 states and the District of Columbia showed a decline in alcohol-related fatalities in 2004 from 2003.
NHTSA projected that 510 people would die in automobile crashes during the Labor Day holiday and about half (260) would be alcohol-related.