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Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over to Remind Drivers about All Types of Impairment

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over to Remind Drivers about All Types of Impairment

For Immediate Release: Aug 08 2019
Statewide- Law enforcement agencies across the state will have extra patrols for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement period beginning August 16 to September 2. The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) and the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) want to remind drivers that they should always drive free from impairment of alcohol and/or prescription or illicit drugs.

In North Dakota, there are 60 officers across the state specially trained in recognizing if a person is under the impairment of drugs. These highly trained officers are called Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). State Trooper Tarek Chase is the state coordinator for the DRE program. He says drugged driving is occurring in the state and that the public needs to be more aware that drugs, including prescription drugs, can impair drivers.

“Quite often the response I get is, but I’m not drunk,” explains Trooper Chase. “The public may not understand that the label on the prescription bottle says not to operate heavy machinery, and that heavy machinery includes your vehicle.”

DRE’s go through a rigorous three-week training program to be able to identify behaviors that are displayed when someone is under the influence of a drug or drugs. That behavior can be different than that of alcohol impairment and includes restlessness and exaggerated reflexes.

“Let’s look at the big picture and think about saving lives. You may not think driving impaired is a big deal, but you need to be responsible and look at your prescription and know the risks. This also means not driving after you’ve been drinking alcohol or taken illegal drugs,” says Trooper Chase. “Take personal responsibility for your life and the lives of others and always drive sober.”

Alcohol and drug-related crashes are 100% preventable. Many lives would be saved in North Dakota each year if every driver consistently makes the choice to always drive sober, designate a sober driver, or use a ride-hailing service.

This campaign is part of the Vision Zero strategy to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads.

Visit the North Dakota Crash Memorial wall to view memorials built on the hope of preventing another death on North Dakota roads.