With tragic increase in deaths on Idaho roads, ITD urges sober driving this holiday season

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is partnering with nearly 50 law enforcement agencies to keep impaired drivers off the road this holiday season. Dec. 17 through Jan. 1, OHS and officers across the state will participate in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over education and enforcement campaign.

The safety effort comes at the close of a tragic 2021 on Idaho roads. According to OHS preliminary data, 254 people have died in crashes in Idaho so far this year, the most traffic fatalities in a single year since 2006.

“One life lost is too many. As 2021 ends, please celebrate the holidays wisely. Make safe decisions behind the wheel to avoid devastating consequences,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson. “Always buckle up and if your festivities will include alcohol, please make a plan for a sober ride home.”

In 2020, 43% of all fatalities were the result of an impaired driving crash in Idaho, and only 29% of the vehicle occupants killed in those crashes were wearing a seat belt.

While law enforcement will be on heightened watch for drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol during the next two weeks, preventing crashes is a shared responsibility in our communities.

“Impaired driving puts Idahoans at risk every day and it’s completely preventable,” said OHS Grants Officer Lisa Losness. “We can all choose to avoid dangerous driving behaviors and help ensure a safer holiday for our friends, family, and neighbors.”

Celebrate with a Plan

Nationally it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05. A single DUI conviction for a first-time offender in Idaho can include costly fines, court costs, legal fees, jail time, and license suspension. Your judgement clouds when under the influence, so it’s important to plan a safe ride home before you leave the house.

  • Designate a sober driver or plan to use a ride service to get home safely.
  • Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously and do not drink any alcohol. Your friends and family are counting on you!
  • If someone you know is about to drink and drive, take the keys away and make arrangements to get them a safe ride.
  • Always buckle up – it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, call *477(*ISP) in hands-free mode. Your actions could help save someone’s life.

Funding for extra patrols and overtime work focused on impaired driving enforcement is provided by a grant through OHS and NHTSA.