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Law enforcement officers are stepping up patrols this holiday season to arrest anyone suspected of driving while impaired.

State and local agencies are partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign through the end of the year, according to news releases.

The push is to get drunken drivers off the street and to spread the word about the dangers of impaired driving any time of the year, according to the Siloam Springs Police Department.

“With extra travelers on the roads, and people attending holiday parties, we will likely see an uptick in drunken driving. We’ll be arresting anyone who breaks this life-saving law,” Lt. Derek Spicer said in a news release.

The holiday period is full of festivities that often contribute to more drunken drivers on the road, according to a news release from the Arkansas State Police.

Nationally, traffic crashes killed 37,461 people and 28 percent died in impaired driving crashes where a driver had a blood alcohol concentration over the limit of 0.08, according to the safety administration’s 2016 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes Overview.

In Arkansas, 117 out of 545, or 21 percent, of fatal car accidents involved alcohol-impaired driving, according to the overview.

Driving while impaired can lead to arrest and jail time, loss of a driver’s license, higher insurance rates and unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing, vehicle repairs and lost wages due to time off work. But the ultimate cost of drunken driving is causing a traffic crash that injures or kills, according to the state release.

Fayetteville police officers will be out in force. Spokesman Sgt. Anthony Murphy said an officer’s job is to protect and serve and that’s what this campaign is all about.

“We want the roadways to be as safe as possible so everyone can enjoy the holidays. If we can prevent an accident where someone could be injured or killed, that’s our job. If we can prevent one family from having to experience the loss of a loved one, then it’s well worth the effort.”

For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at 501-618-8136.

Police tips

Police recommend people follow these tips for safe travels:

• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave car keys at home.

• If impaired, use a taxi or transportation network company or call a sober friend or family member.

• If you see a drunken driver on the road, do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement agency.

• If someone is about to drive while impaired, take that person’s keys and help make other arrangements to get him or her home safely.

• Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. Safer-Ride allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend and identifies the user’s location.

• Always wear your seat belt or use protective equipment while on a motorcycle.

Source: Staff report

Ashton Eley can be reached by email at aeley@nwadg.com or Twitter @NWAAshton.

Print Headline: Police urge holiday travelers to drive sober

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