JEFFERSON CITY - Each day lives are drastically changed or lost in preventable traffic crashes caused by impaired driving. Drivers continue to break the law by driving impaired, putting thousands of travelers at risk daily.Holiday weekends bring a surge in impaired driving, so this year's Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over high-visibility crackdown will run Aug. 15 through the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 1. "We want drivers to know that we will not tolerate impaired driving," said Colonel Ronald Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "We will continue our year round efforts of enforcing Missouri's DWI laws, and through this campaign create public awareness to the dangers impaired driving causes on our highways."National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data shows that drivers respond well to this type of high visibility enforcement. Past campaigns have resulted in a 20 percent decrease in substance-impaired crash fatalities. On average, one person will die every 34 minutes in an impaired driving crash over the Labor Day period, that's a lot of lives that could be saved. Statewide, law enforcement made 587 DWI arrests during the impaired driving campaign in August and September of 2013. "Substance-impaired driving contributes to nearly 30 percent of all Missouri traffic fatalities," said Leanna Depue, executive chair to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "In 2013, 223 people were killed and 728 seriously injured in Missouri traffic crashes that involved at least one impaired driver." We are all a part of the solution. Please consider the following tips:• Don't risk it - if you plan to drive, don't drink.• Encourage safe driving behaviors among family, friends and co-workers.• Choose a designated driver before partying. A designated driver is someone who drinks NO alcohol at all.
• Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a friend to drive you home if you have no designated driver and no other means of transportation.• Party hosts should include alcohol-free beverages for designated drivers.• Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.• Always wear your safety belt - it's your best defense against an impaired driver.To learn more about impaired driving and how you can Arrive Alive, visit saveMOlives.com, or follow social media at Save MO Lives, #DriveSoberMO.