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NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts (December 13, 2018)- The Northampton Police were awarded a special grant from the Highway Safety Division (HSD) of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to increase the number of impaired driving patrols during the holiday season. Northampton police will join other departments across the state and the State Police in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over (DSOGPO) enforcement mobilization and public information campaign.

“When an impaired driver is behind the wheel, everyone is at risk – passengers, other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Captain John Cartledge of the Northampton Police Department. “These funds will increase the number of impaired driving patrols over the holidays. Regardless of the type or level of impairment, if a driver is operating the vehicle in a dangerous manner, they will be stopped.” 

The education component of the DSOGPO campaign, “Plan ahead. Get a Ride”, will stress the importance of engaging a sober driver, using public transportation or a ride-share service before celebrating this holiday season.

“Arranging for a sober ride home before celebrating should be a part of everyone’s plans for the holiday season,” said Jeff Larason, Director of the EOPSS Highway Safety Division. “In 2016 alone, impaired drivers took the lives of 79 innocent people in our state. This campaign recognizes the important role cab, ride-share drivers, MBTA operators or a sober friend willing to take you home, play in reducing the number of people killed in impaired driving crashes.”

Massachusetts Data:

  • · Marijuana was the most prevalent drug found in drivers involved in fatal crashes from 2012-2016. 
  • · From 2012-2016, an average of 10% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were found with both alcohol and drugs in their system.
  • · From 2015 to 2016, alcohol impaired driving fatalities increased 41 percent (105 to 148).
  • · In 2016, impaired drivers killed 79 people – an increase of 19 fatalities from 2015.
  • · From 2011-2015, 82 percent of impaired drivers in fatal crashes were men.
  • · From 2011-2015, 45 percent of all alcohol-related driver fatalities were ages 21 to 34.

National Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • · Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers.  In 2017, there were 10,874 people killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average, more than 10,000 people have died each year (2013 to 2017) in drunk-driving crashes. To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing, with no survivors.  
  • · In 2017, almost one in five children (14 and younger) killed in traffic crashes were killed in drunk-driving crashes.  Fifty-four percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.
  • · Drugs were present in 43 percent of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result in 2015, more frequently than alcohol was present.
  • · NHTSA’s 2013–2014 roadside survey found drugs in 22 percent of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekdays.
  • · Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects—slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance, and makes it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.
  • · Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own.