It’s hard to have a happy holiday if you’re arrested for drunk driving. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) is teaming up with law enforcement across Iowa to urge drivers to think twice before drinking and driving. December 15 – January 1, 2024, drivers will see officers working on a special high-visibility enforcement campaign to spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving from.
The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office will have additional deputies on duty throughout the month of December conducting high visibility patrols. These deputies will be focused on not only impaired drivers but also distracted and aggressive drivers.
More parties and festivities celebrating the season bring out more drunk drivers. In 2022, preliminary data shows 35% of Iowa’s fatal crashes involved an impaired driver. Last December almost 1100 drivers were charged with OWI on Iowa roads. About 25% of those were 2nd and 3rd offenses. Impaired drivers pose a danger to other drivers and themselves. GTSB and law enforcement urge drivers to always plan before heading out to a celebration.
“Drunk driving isn’t just dangerous, it’s illegal,” says Impaired Driving Program Administrator Todd Olmstead. “Drivers have a choice to make; follow the law and respect their fellow drivers by refraining from drunk driving or make the choice to drive drunk, put others at risk, and risk their own mortality. We need a commitment from every driver to keep the roads free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe holiday.”
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 available, use your community’s sober ride program. Remember: a few dollars spent on a ride is a lot cheaper than an OWI conviction, which can cost up to $10,000. Plan before you head out for the evening. If you see an impaired driver on the road, do not hesitate to contact law enforcement.