DRIVEsoberSMALLThe Benton Police Department, along with law enforcement officers throughout Arkansas and the nation, have a simple message for everyone: If you are intoxicated from drugs or alcohol – don’t drive!

Between June 30 and July 4, BNPD officers are participating in the nation-wide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to end vehicle accidents on the roadways due to the negligence of intoxicated drivers. Every day, 28 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an impaired driver. This is one death every 51 minutes. In 2015, nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

“The safest way to get home is to drive sober or catch a ride with a sober designated driver,” Captain Kevin Russell said. “If you plan on drinking at a party or family gathering or at a restaurant, hand the keys over to someone else – a sober friend, a taxi or public transportation. Or, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up.”

The SaferRide mobile app is available on ITunes for iPhone users and Google Play for Android users. 

As part of the national ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ enforcement campaign period, officers will be increasing the number of patrols, setting up roadblocks, and using local media to reach out to all drivers. If you’re drinking and driving, Benton police will stop you. If you’re caught drinking and driving you could face jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses, totaling $10,000 on average.  

“That’s not a small price, and that doesn’t even count the heftier price you could pay: the price of your life or someone else’s,” Chief Kirk Lane said. “Some people think that if they get pulled over for driving intoxicated, they can just refuse a breath test to avoid the DUI charge. That’s not true. In most jurisdictions, refusing a breath test means an automatic arrest, and the loss of your driver’s license on the spot.” 

The BNPD is also calling on everyone to be alert. If you see an intoxicated driver, call 911 immediately. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking or using drugs, take their keys and help them get home safely. 

“We’ve got to work together to make our roads safer,” Captain Russell said. “We can’t stand to see this tragic loss of life again and again. The hardest part of the job is making that house call and telling a family that their loved one is gone because someone chose to drink and drive. That’s why we will show zero tolerance. Please find a safe and sober ride home.” 

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