Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer with last minute trips and family celebrations. More traffic leads to the likelihood of more crashes but that doesn’t mean there should be more impaired drivers. The Labor Day weekend has become one of the deadliest times of the year for drunk-driving fatalities.
Over the Labor Day holiday period in 2015 (the last year for which statistics are available) there were 460 crash fatalities nationwide of which 40 percent (184) involved drivers who had a .01 blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher. Thirty-three percent (152) were legally impaired (.08 or higher) and 23 percent (106) of the drivers had BACs of .15 or higher. That means that 442 deaths could have been avoided if every driver had made the decision to not drink and drive. There were seven fatalities on Iowa roads during the same period with only one involving a drunk driver but in 2016 preliminary data indicates that two of the three fatalities involved alcohol impaired drivers.
• Even if you only plan to have one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home. It is never okay to drink and drive.
• Download NHTSA’s (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) SaferRide mobile app available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s ITunes Store for IOS devices.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement agency.
• Take the keys away and make arrangements to get friends home if they have been drinking and are planning to drive.
The Story City Police Department, Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau want you to have a safe Labor Day holiday. Local law enforcement across the state will be stepping up enforcement from now through Sept. 3, with emphasis on impaired driving and seat belt use. “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over!”