For Hometown News
The Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching, and in the weeks leading up to it the Volusia County Sheriff's Office will be out in force cracking down on alcohol- impaired drivers. The Sheriff's Office is joining with law enforcement throughout the nation for the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. The campaign began Aug. 16 and will run through Sept. 3.
During this enforcement program, deputies will be on "heightened and saturation patrols" enforcing Florida's impaired driving laws. Deputies assigned to this program will be using both marked and unmarked patrol vehicles.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demonstrate that making the public aware of the dangers of drinking and driving still needs to be a high priority. It is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter. Despite these laws, in 2010 more than 10,000 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was impaired.
During the Labor Day weekend in 2010, 147 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with BACs of .08 or higher. Of those fatalities, 80 percent occurred from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. Among 18- to 34-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2010 Labor Day weekend, 54 percent were alcohol-impaired.
"It's very important for drivers to understand the dangers of drinking and driving. After consuming any alcohol, don't make the fatal mistake of believing you're OK to drive. The best plan for a safe holiday weekend is to designate a non-drinking driver or even celebrate at home and stay off the roads," said Sgt. Jim Whittet, supervisor of the Sheriff's Office's countywide motors unit.
Violators face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job.
"We want you to have an enjoyable holiday," said Sheriff Ben Johnson. "But even more importantly, we want you to be safe!"