Law enforcement agencies statewide are partnering to provide additional protection for highway travelers during the holiday season.

The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office has joined with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in announcing Arkansas’s participation in the national law enforcement and public media campaign, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," now through Jan. 1. 

"Focusing on the Christmas and New Year holidays, Arkansas law enforcement agencies will conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints to identify and arrest impaired drivers," said Colonel Stan Witt, Arkansas State Police Director and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.

"If your celebration includes drinking alcohol, please celebrate responsibly, don’t take a chance, because chances are you’ll be caught," Colonel Witt stated.  "Designate a driver or one will be appointed for you, straight to jail."

Thirty-four percent of all the traffic fatalities in Arkansas were alcohol-related and resulted in the loss of 190 lives lost.

Colonel Witt said State Troopers will join other state and local law enforcement officers across the state in making sure Arkansas roadways stay safe. 

"Drunk driving crashes are not accidents," said Arkansas Program Manager of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Pam Sell. "These crashes are entirely preventable if motorists would forego a holiday activity that can often lead to tragedy — getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after drinking or using other drugs."

MADD representatives suggested that party hosts include alcohol-free beverages and protein-rich foods, along with reminding guests to plan ahead and remember the following advice:

• If you plan to drive, don’t drink.

• If you drink, choose a sober designated driver.

• If you have been drinking, take a taxicab or ask someone to get you to your designation.

• Report impaired drivers to law enforcement

• Always wear your safety belt, your best defense against an impaired driver.

For more information on the Drive Sober campaign, call the ASPHSO at 501-618-8136 or contact MADD at 501-246-8810.