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Holiday safety campaign illuminates risks of drunk driving

Drivers whose holiday plans include travel on roadways in Florida and other states may want to heed the message of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's seasonal safety campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. According to an NHTSA deputy administrator, law enforcement officials will be on patrol across the country over the Christmas and New Year's Day holiday weekends in an effort to protect motorists from intoxicated drivers.

Data recorded over the past five years suggests that driving under the influence between Christmas and New Year's Day may cause or contribute to an average of 300 fatalities annually. In 2016 alone, 781 individuals were killed in drunk-driving-related accidents during December. In a statement, United States Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao urged motorists to drive sober during the busy December holiday season and asked them to plan a safe ride home before imbibing at seasonal celebrations.

The NHTSA's 2017 holiday campaign warns motorists of the risks and consequences of drunk driving. By pairing national TV advertising with a 360-degree virtual reality web experience, the agency hopes to raise awareness of drunk driving. The commercial focuses on a man in the back of a police vehicle at the site of a drunk-driving incident, while the app, SaferRide, allows users to explore a crash scene and interact with the victims and emergency responders.

According to the NHTSA, approximately one-third of all drivers who are taken into custody on drunk driving charges are repeat offenders. Because jail time is a likely ramification of a second or third DUI offense in Florida, drivers who find themselves facing these charges may want to schedule a case evaluation with a criminal defense attorney. Dependant upon the unique circumstances surrounding a particular case, the attorney may be able to mitigate the consequences of a conviction or even find deficiencies in the prosecution's evidence, which could lead to a dismissal of the charges.

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