Arkansas law enforcement officers will be participating in the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” operation during the July 4th Independence Day holiday weekend. The mission will be devoted to stopping drunk drivers before tragedy strikes, according to a news release.


State police, along with city officers and county deputies across Arkansas will increase their patrols along the roads and highways with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired. Motorists should expect to see more sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols involving a unified police force working to keep the roadways safe.


According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving accounted for 29% (10,511) of the total motor vehicle traffic deaths during 2018. Additionally, drunk driving can be attributed to 40% (78) of the 193 traffic fatalities over the July 4th (2018) holiday period.


“Making the choice to drink and drive can be deadly,” said Col. Bill Bryant, director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety representative. “It’s irresponsible behavior, and we will be out in full force to put a stop to it. Make no mistake, if you’re caught drinking and driving, you will be arrested.”


If travelers plan to consume alcohol, the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office offers these reminders:


• Plan a safe way home before leaving. It’s never okay to drink and drive, even if the person had one alcoholic beverage. Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to the destination safely.


• If a person has been drinking, they should call a taxi or someone who is sober to drive them home.


• If someone sees a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1.


• If a person knows someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help make other arrangements to get the person safely to their destination.


• Always buckle up. The seat belt is the best defense against a drunk driver.


Information about Arkansas’ ongoing “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign to eliminate preventable traffic deaths can be found at www.TZDarkansas.org. Details: www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at 501 618-8136.