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During the upcoming Christmas season, Garland County sheriff's deputies and Hot Springs police will join other law enforcement agencies to step up enforcement against drunken drivers as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

Increased patrols will begin Friday and continue through Jan. 1, a news release said, noting "stopping and arresting impaired drivers will be a top priority."

Sheriff Mike McCormick said in the release that he is committed to keeping the people of the community safe during this Christmas season.

"My deputies will not tolerate impaired driving of any kind; if you choose to drive impaired you will go to jail. Please be responsible and utilize a designated driver, taxi, or other means of transportation," McCormick said.

Local law enforcement agencies are partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the mobilization "to get drunk drivers off the street and to spread the word about the dangers of impaired driving."

"The holidays are known for being merry and bright, but they are also known for being the deadliest season when it comes to drunk driving," HSPD Cpl. Joey Williams said in a news release. "Every holiday season, lives are lost due to drunk drivers."

The "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving" campaign, supported by the NHTSA, began Nov. 23 and ends Wednesday, followed by the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

All 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have by law set a threshold making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. In 2017, there were 10,874 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, an average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes, the release said.

These alcohol impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S. last year.

The release recommended the following tips to stay safe on the road this holiday season:

• Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before getting in a vehicle. Even one drink can impair a driver's judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for drunken driving, or worse, risk injury or death to someone in a crash.

• Anyone who has been drinking should use paid transportation such as a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get to their destination safely.

• Promptly report drunken drivers to law enforcement.

• Always wear a seat belt or use protective equipment while on a motorcycle. The safety devices are the best defense against an impaired driver.

Local on 12/11/2018

Print Headline: Police, sheriff to join holiday DWI crackdown

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