Lawrence County deputies will be out in full force as part of the annual nationwide holiday DWI enforcement campaign “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” which targets substance–impaired drivers. The enforcement throughout Lawrence County, will run from Friday, Dec. 18, through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.

The campaign will include high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events, and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb substance–impaired driving over the specified period.

“Lawrence County deputies will be aggressively looking for substance–impaired drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving impaired by alcohol and/or drugs,” said Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay.

It is illegal in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive impaired, indicated by a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

“Far too many people across the nation still get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol or drugs,” DeLay said. “The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscore the serious nature of the nation’s continuing impaired-driving epidemic.”

In Missouri, 25 percent of all 2014 motor vehicle traffic deaths involved one or more substance–impaired drivers. At least one substance-impaired driver was involved in 197 fatalities and 724 serious injuries in Missouri in 2014.

Sheriff DeLay added the holiday weekend is particularly dangerous. “During the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday in 2014, a total of 25 people were killed and 81 seriously injured in Missouri traffic crashes,” he said. From Dec. 12, 2014, through Jan. 1, 2015, there were 50 fatalities and 272 serious injuries. Among those, seven fatalities and 48 serious injuries involved at least one substance–impaired driver.”

High-visibility enforcements such as the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign has been proven to reduce substance–impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.

“By joining this nationwide effort, we will make Lawrence County’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the holiday,” DeLay said.

“We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel impaired by alcohol and / or drugs is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does alcohol and /or drugs impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do choose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses,” Sheriff DeLay said.

Sheriff DeLay noted that being arrested for driving impaired brings a wide range of negative consequences into one’s life. Substance–impaired drivers face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of a job. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment.

“Substance–impaired driving is simply not worth the risk. So don’t take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force and we will be watching, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,'” said Sheriff Brad DeLay.