With Labor Day just around the corner, West Virginia drivers are being urged to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is hard at work with local law enforcement agencies to keep West Virginia roadways safe during the upcoming holiday season, starting with Labor Day weekend according to a press release from the GHSP.

Impaired driving is a problem that plagues West Virginia roadways year round, but Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer, with most people having extra time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, this also leads to an increase in impaired driving related crashes and fatalities.

In a program that began on August 19th, law enforcement agencies across the state have been conducting a 20-day high visibility enforcement campaign to remind drivers to “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over”. Law enforcement will show zero tolerance for impaired drivers. Various sobriety check points will be taking place statewide to catch impaired drivers and keep them off of West Virginia roadways.

GHSP Director Bob Tipton said that in the 20 days prior to Labor Day last year, 22 fatalities occurred, with 7 of those involving an impaired driver at the wheel. He said the best way to help reduce the number of impaired driving crashes and fatalities is to let people know the dangers, and to work with our law enforcement agencies to take part in high visibility enforcement patrols and checkpoints.

West Virginia is not alone in this preventable problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, approximately one third of all crash fatalities over Labor Day weekend involved drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. It’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher in every state in the U.S. Additionally, more than a quarter of those crashes involved drivers with a BAC over .15 or higher – almost twice the legal limit.

NHTSA data also shows that repeat offenders are an especially dangerous facet of the drunk-driving problem. In the month of August from 2009-2013, almost 1 out of 10 drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had already been convicted of at least one drunk-driving offense.
In addition to community education efforts and high visibility law enforcement activities, the GHSP has launched a free mobile app for both Apple and Android mobile devices called “Driver Sober West Virginia”. The application has features that allow you to report a drunk driver, find a sober ride, and even educate yourself on laws and information about the cost of a DUI. More information on the mobile app is available at http://www.DriveSoberWV.com.

One of the primary goals of the GHSP is to change driver behavior and keep motorists safe while traveling on West Virginia roadways. Programs like “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and high visibility enforcement checkpoints help to do just that. For more information on the GHSP, visit www.dmv.wv.gov/ghsp or call 304-926-2509.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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