GCPH kicks off Labor Day campaign


XENIA — During the Labor Day holiday period, including the end of summertime and the busy holiday weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be working alongside the law enforcement community in Greene County to decrease impaired driving.

From Aug. 16 through Sept. 4, Greene County law enforcement will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility enforcement period. In support of the law enforcement community’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see officers working together during this time to take drunk drivers off the roads.

According to NHTSA, 13,384 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2021 — that’s one person every 39 minutes. On average, more than 11,000 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes each year from 2017 to 2021. This is why the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, a program of Greene County Public Health, is working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it’s a matter of life and death.

“We want our community members to understand that it’s our first priority to keep people safe, so we’re asking everyone to plan ahead if they know they’ll be out drinking,” said Loressa Gonyer, safe communities coordinator. “The Drive Sober campaign is an awareness effort to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal, and it takes lives. Let’s make this a partnership between law enforcement and drivers: Help us protect the community and put an end to this senseless behavior.”

During the 2021 Labor Day holiday period (from 6 p.m. Sept. 3 to 5:59 a.m. Sept. 7), there were 531 crash fatalities nationwide. Of these 531 traffic crash fatalities, 41 percent (216) involved a drunk driver, and more than a quarter (27 percent) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC). Among drivers between the ages of 18-34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2021, 46 percent of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.

There are plenty of options to help impaired drivers get home safely, such as designating a sober driver or calling a taxi or rideshare, according to GCPH. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact 1-800-GRAB-DUI or *DUI.

Remember: A few dollars spent on a ride home is a lot cheaper than a DUI, which can cost up to $10,000, according to GCPH.

No one should mix drinking and driving, and no one is immune to the effects of drinking, according to GCPH officials.

“If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get into a vehicle with a drunk driver,” GCPH said in a release. “If you have a friend who is about to drive after drinking, take away their keys and help them get home safely. Most importantly, always have a plan before you head out for the evening. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you will already be too impaired to make the right choice.”

Greene County Safe Communities will be kicking off this campaign at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 25, at the Trans Am Nationals held at the Holiday Inn and Homewood Suites, 2800 Presidential Drive, Fairborn.

For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving. For more information about Greene County Safe Communities and how you can be involved, call at 937-374-5655 or email [email protected]. For more information on Greene County Public Health, call 937-374-5600 or visit www.gcph.info.

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