Note: This page is part of the Governor's News Archive, which holds press releases from January 2009 through September 2011. Since October 2011, recent news can be found in the Newsroom and archived news is available at news.delaware.gov.
December 15, 2009
DOVER – Approximately every 45 minutes someone is killed in an alcohol-related crash in this country. That’s why beginning Wednesday December 16th, Delaware’s Office of Highway Safety and its law enforcement community will join with thousands of others in all 50 states to take part in the national impaired driving crackdown, Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. The crackdown is a nationwide high visibility enforcement and awareness program organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) aimed at deterring impaired driving during the holiday season.
“Even one drunk driving death on Delaware roads is too many,” said Governor Jack Markell. “With our new laws this year that crack down on repeat drunk drivers and enforcement efforts like this one, we are sending a clear message that drunk driving will not be tolerated in Delaware. If you drink and drive, we will arrest you. No exceptions. No excuses. We will be out in force to get more drunk drivers off the road—and save lives.”
Delaware’s participation in the crackdown, which is being coordinated by OHS, consists of a combination of sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols. Fifteen checkpoints and more than 100 saturation patrols are scheduled to occur throughout the crackdown’s timeframe which runs through New Year’s Eve. The first of these checkpoints will occur this weekend in Milford, Dover and New Castle County.
The State’s enforcement and awareness efforts fall under the umbrella of OHS’s Safe Family Holiday Campaign which launched Thanksgiving Eve. In the first three weeks of the SFH Campaign, Delaware law enforcement officers have arrested 92 for DUI. Additionally, 2 have been killed and 25 injured in alcohol-related crashes during this time frame.
“Drinking and driving is a crime that is 100% preventable,” said Tricia Roberts, Director of the Office of Highway Safety. “Yet we continue to see far too many people suffer debilitating injuries and loss of the loved ones as a result of impaired driving. This careless disregard for human life must stop.”
The Office of Highway Safety also continues to conduct awareness activities such as its Mocktail, or non-alcoholic cocktail, parties where high protein foods, non-alcoholic punch, and information on Delaware’s DUI laws and penalties are provided. Two are scheduled for the week of the 14th, one at Nanticoke Hospital in Seaford, and one at Beebe Hospital in Lewes. The final Mocktail Party of the season will be held on December 21st at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Newark.
“Drinking and driving is simply not worth the risk,” said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lewis Schiliro. “Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant. Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and dozens of other expenses. So don’t take the chance. Remember, if you are over the limit, you are under arrest.”
Currently, 35 (or 31%) of the 113 people killed in Delaware traffic deaths since January 1st have been alcohol-related. This is 13 percentage point decrease in impaired driving related deaths compared to this time last year when 50 (or 44%) of the 114 people killed, died in alcohol-related crashes.