WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Drive sober or get pulled over.
That’s the message from the U.S. Department of Transportation as the holiday party season approaches.
Nearly 10,000 people died last year in alcohol-related crashes, and now the DOT is hoping a new ad campaign will remind people to be safe.
The DOT is gearing up to spend millions of dollars to convince us to drive sober.
“This is $8 million on top of what we normally spend and have available for state and local governments,” said James Owens, acting administrator for the NHTSA.
Owens said the goal is to save lives.
“We lost 839 people on our nation’s roads last December,” Owens said. “That is a terrible and unacceptable tragedy.”
The DOT said nearly 10,000 Americans died in alcohol-related crashes last year, and deadly crashes tend to spike around major holidays.
The campaign goes beyond drinking and driving, though, as legal marijuana use continues to grow across the country.
“This also includes smoking marijuana and using other drugs,” Owens said. “If you use drugs, you’re just as impaired as if you’re drinking and driving.”
The $8 million ad buy comes on top of other money DOT officials said they’re doling out to help local agencies cover additional expenses, like overtime pay.
“Law enforcement is going to be out there on the roads, looking for impaired drivers, and pulling them over,” Owens said.
The DOT is expected to formally roll out the new ads on Tuesday.