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Don't Let Halloween Turn into a Drunk Driving Nightmare

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Sobriety checkpoints, free cab rides home planned for the DC region.

Release from Checkpoint Strikeforce

Mary Ellen Menton/Colleen Coghlan/John Undeland: (202) 289-2001 (Menton cell: (540) 229-4505)
Kurt Erickson: (703) 893-0461

Washington, DC— As Halloween revelers head out to parties full of fun, frivolity and often alcohol, the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign will be cracking down on drunk driving with sobriety checkpoints throughout the region.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk drivers nationally kill more than three times as many people during Halloween than on New Year’s Eve. 

Since Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year, costumed party animals will be celebrating from the preceding weekend through October 31, making this year’s Halloween period particularly dangerous.  "When Halloween partying takes to the roadways, too often the result is tragic,” said Commander Robert Contee, Special Operations Division, Metropolitan Police Department. "That’s why the law enforcement community of the entire region is mobilizing to remove impaired drivers from the road.  If you drink and drive this Halloween, you can count on your own ‘Scary Movie’.”

Death is the most significant and obvious consequence of drunk driving, but a myriad of other nightmares also can occur.  Getting nailed for DUI at a sobriety checkpoint can cost drunk drivers between $5,000 to $20,000 in expenses, revocation of their driver’s license and possible jail time, as well as professional and personal consequences and embarrassment. 

On Halloween night itself, Tuesday, October 31, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s (WRAP) SoberRide offers Halloween revelers a practical alternative to drinking and driving.  The free cab ride service throughout the greater Washington, DC region will be available from 8 pm to 4 am on Halloween night.

“There absolutely is no excuse for getting behind the wheel drunk when celebrating on Halloween,” said Kurt Erickson, president and chief executive officer of WRAP, which also serves as the project manager of the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign. “SoberRide is easy, it’s free, and since its inception in 1993, it has removed more than 34,000 would-be drunk drivers from the road.”

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The Washington Regional Alcohol Program is pleased to offer SoberRide once again for the Greater Washington area this Halloween.  Service will be offered Tuesday, October 31, from 8 pm to 4 am. To receive a free cab ride home (up to a $50 fare), call 800-200-TAXI (8294).  Participants must be 21 or older to use the SoberRide service.

Checkpoint Strikeforce
The region-wide Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign, which combines proactive public education and stepped-up enforcement, effectively erases borders between jurisdictions in fighting drunk driving.  The campaign is supported by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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