The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has kicked off its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Labor Day national enforcement mobilization campaign.

As part of the high-visibility enforcement campaign, law enforcement officers will be working with their communities from August 18 through September 4 to stop impaired driving.

The initiative includes a number of public service messages: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over; If You Feel Different, You Drive Different; Drive High, Get a DUI; and Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over.

The NHTSA said impaired driving was on the rise with fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes increased by 14.2 per cent from 2020 to 2021, as compared to a 10.1 per cent increase in overall traffic fatalities from 2020 to 2021. And two-thirds of drunk driving crash fatalities in 2021 involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more, nearly twice the legal limit of impairment. Those crashes killed 9,027 people in 2021.

NHTSA data shows that historically summer months tend to be more dangerous on the road. In 2021, drunk driving accounted for 31 per cent of traffic crash fatalities. In 2021, 13,384 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 39 minutes, up from 2020, when one person was killed every 45 minutes in an impaired-driving crash in the United States.

“Impaired drivers put everyone, including themselves, at risk,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said. “We’re asking everyone to arrange for a sober ride home. It’s a matter of life and death.”