Police departments from Ohio and Kentucky are participating in the national enforcement crackdown "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" that runs through Labor Day weekend. Dozens of officers gathered at the AAA/Bob Sumerel location in Forest Park for the kickoff event Thursday.
Cincinnati interim Police Chief Paul Humphries cited national and local statistics to emphasize the need for the campaign:
- Nearly 13,000 people killed last year in crashes involving impaired drivers
- Almost 35 percent of people in Cincinnati involved in fatal crashes involved an impaired driver
- More than 27 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes involved an impaired driver or an impaired rider
"So this is something that's important," Humphries told the officers attending the event. "It affects our community. It affects the people that we live, work and play with-- the people we serve on a daily basis."
State police say 482 people died last year in 441 OVI-related crashes in Ohio. Kentucky recorded more than 5,600 crashes related to drugs and alcohol, resulting in 150 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries.
While enforcement and education programs have cut into OVI-related crashes, police say their work is far from done. They say they're partnering in programs like this to deliver the message about the dangers of impaired driving.
"What we're hoping is this gets out--this type of media coverage-- and somebody who's at a Labor Day party, someone who's at an event, whatever it is, they know to plan ahead, have a designated driver," said Humphries. "We're not trying to go back to Prohibition or anything; we just want people to be smart and be safe."