Federal officials are starting an advertising campaign against drunk driving aimed primarily at men ages 21 to 34, USA Today reports. Alcohol was a factor in 16,885 traffic deaths last year. Said Acting Transportation Secretary Maria Cino said. “Our message is simple: If you drive drunk, you will be arrested.” She announced an $11 million campaign of television, radio, and Internet advertisements–the largest such effort ever.
Alcohol was a factor in 39 percent of all traffic deaths in 2005. Male drivers ages 21 to 34 were involved in more alcohol-related crashes than any other group, followed by men 35 to 44. It is illegal to drive in the U.S. with a blood-alcohol content at or above 0.08%. The number of fatalities in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator who was illegally drunk dipped slightly. Jim Champagne, Louisiana’s top highway safety official and chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association, said, “We will be using sobriety checkpoints at a level that we’ve never done before.”