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YOU DRINK & DRIVE. YOU LOSE.

Sheriff’s Office Participates in DWI Crackdown - 50 States and DC have .O8 BAC laws

(Harford County, MD) — The Harford County Sheriff’s Office announced today its plans to participate in the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. nationwide crackdown from August 27 to September 12, 2004. This is the first since all 50 States and the District of Columbia passed .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) laws for impaired driving. Uniform BAC laws will strengthen law enforcement’s ability to arrest and prosecute dangerous drunk drivers. Additionally, for the first time, the crackdown will take place during the Labor Day period to target the end-of-summer impaired driving problem. This program will be running in conjunction with the Washington/Baltimore, Smooth Operator, campaign and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s, Impaired Driving Crackdown.

”We want everyone to not only enjoy the Labor Day holiday but to be safe every day of the year,” said R.Thomas Golding, Sheriff of Harford County. “To that end our message is clear – You Drink & Drive. You Lose.” Golding said, adding, “We will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint on August 27th along with random and saturation type patrols all in an effort to reduce impaired driving.” “So chances are if you drive impaired this Labor Day, you will get caught. Refuse a sobriety test and you can lose your license on the spot and have your car impounded. Don’t turn your holiday into a jail stay,” Golding concluded.

The You Drink & Drive. You Lose. Crackdown, which began in 1999, combines highly visible law enforcement with a $14 million national advertising campaign – the largest paid media buy in the crackdown’s history. Advertising during the crackdown highlights the law enforcement component that will be strictly enforcing drunken driving laws during the three-week crackdown period.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies show that nearly 97 percent of Americans view drinking and driving by others as a threat to their families and themselves. Indeed, Americans support tougher enforcement and rank drunk driving ahead of healthcare, poverty, the environment and gun control as an important social issue. The majority of Americans support increased enforcements efforts.

NHTSA estimates that 17,401 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2003. This represents 40% of the 43,220 people killed in all traffic crashes. Intoxication rates for motorcycle riders continue to be even higher than that of passenger cars or truck drivers.

The Harford County Highway Safety Committee, who is providing funding for this initiative, offers the following advice to motorists who encounter a potential drunk driver:

  • Maintain a safe following distance.
  • Do not attempt to pass the vehicle.
  • If the driver is behind you, turn right at the nearest intersection. Let the driver pass before returning to your route.
  • Move to the shoulder and stop if the driver is coming head-on.
  • Report suspected drunk drivers. Give the location and the direction of travel, and provide a description of the vehicle and driver. Do not put yourself or your passengers in jeopardy to obtain this information.
  • Always buckle up – it’s your best defense against an impaired driver

Sgt. Joseph VanSeeters of the Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit, advises if you intend to go out with family and friends you should:

  • Be responsible and don’t risk it … you will be caught.
  • If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out.
  • Take mass transit, a taxicab, or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Spend the night where the activity is held.

For more information about the crackdown or alcohol-related crash statistics, visit www.nhtsa.gov or www.StopImpairedDriving.org.

Press Release

August 23, 2004

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