If you get the feeling that you’re being watched while you’re driving these days, you probably are. The US Department of Transportation wants it that way. Every summer the USDOT rolls out its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which targets impaired drivers.
Why summer? Because summer is, sadly the time when drunk drivers come out in force. Students on break, campers, vacationers, and everyone else trying to cram as much partying and social life as they can into the warm summer days and evenings. They drink too much, or too long, or both, and suddenly find themselves without a designated driver. They head home with too much alcohol in their systems. Many make it home, and some do not. About 10,000 people die each year in alcohol related collisions. Not all of them are drunk drivers. They are passengers, victims in another vehicle, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Summer drinking is why more than 10,000 police departments and other law enforcement agencies across America are participating in Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. The campaign has two parts:
- Cracking down on drunk driving. Police are dedicating more officers to the task of spotting drunk drivers. They’ll be watching for drivers who raise alarm bells, and will make a priority of stopping anyone they think is under the influence
- Educating drivers about the folly of drunk driving
The most recent PSAs don’t focus on the dangers of impaired driving, but rather the social and economic effects (the cost of a DWI and the requirement for an ignition interlock) and the sheer inevitability of getting caught. The reason for this is that young males are still the most likely group to drink and drive, and that group is by and large more concerned about social standing than public safety.
Perhaps seeing the consequences of a DWI conviction will have an effect on how many people make the bad decision to get behind the wheel while impaired. But even if it doesn’t, those eyes will be watching you and everyone else on the roadways.