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Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

For Immediate Release
August 31, 2023

Contact: FDOT Janella Newsome
(863) 209-5589 | Janella.Newsome@dot.state.fl.us

Contact: FHP Sgt Steve Gaskins
(813) 215-1867 | SteveGaskins@flhsmv.gov


NHTSA, FDOT and Local Law Enforcement Remind Drivers:
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

[BARTOW, Fla.] — During the Labor Day holiday period, including the end of summertime and the busy holiday weekend, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be working alongside the law enforcement communities to ensure everyone arrives alive.  In Polk County, state and law enforcement agencies from Auburndale, Bartow, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lake Hamilton and Lakeland have joined forces to decrease impaired driving. On September 1st, a multi-agency DUI saturation patrol in Polk County will be occurring in conjunction with the National Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility enforcement period. In support of the law enforcement community’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see officers working together during this time to take drunk drivers off the roads. No matter how you plan to celebrate the end of summer this year, make sure you plan to do it safely.

According to NHTSA, 13,384 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2021 — that’s one person every 39 minutes. On average, more than 11,000 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes each year from 2017 to 2021. This is why the Florida Highway Patrol Troop C, Auburndale Police Department, Bartow Police Department, Haines City Police Department, Lake Alfred Police Department, Lake Hamilton Police Department and the Lakeland Police Department are working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal; it’s a matter of life and death. As you head out to festivities during the end of summer and Labor Day weekend, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

“We want our community members to understand that it’s our first priority to keep people safe, so we’re asking everyone to plan ahead if they know they’ll be out drinking,” said Keith Robbins, FDOT District One Safety Administrator. “The Drive Sober campaign is an awareness effort to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and it takes lives. Let’s make this a partnership between law enforcement and drivers: Help us protect the community and put an end to this senseless behavior,” he said. 

There are plenty of options to help impaired drivers get home safely, such as designating a sober driver or calling a taxi or rideshare. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact 911 or *FHP.

Remember: A few dollars spent on a ride home is a lot cheaper than a DUI, which can cost up to $20,000. Something else to consider: Don’t ever be too proud or embarrassed to ask for a ride. Allowing a sober driver to help you get home safely keeps you and others safe. What’s more embarrassing than asking for a sober ride home? Spending the night in jail. Having your car impounded. Losing your job or your security clearance. Take your pick.

No one should mix drinking and driving, and no one is immune to the effects of drinking. If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get into a vehicle with a drunk driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive after drinking, take away their keys and help them get home safely. Most importantly: Always have a plan before you head out for the evening. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you will already be too impaired to make the right choice.For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.