A law enforcement effort to catch drivers who drink began on Aug. 17 and will end on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.

The effort is being called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

The intensified enforcement campaign coincides with the Labor Day holiday weekend, which is one of the deadliest times of the year for drunk-driving fatalities. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,497 lives were lost in drunk-driving crashes during 2016. Statistically, that means one person is killed every 50 minutes by a drunk driver on our nation’s roads. Over the Labor Day holiday period in 2016 there were 433 traffic crash fatalities nationwide. Of the fatal crashes, more than one-third (36 percent) involved drivers who were drunk.

“We need motorists to understand that they must make the smart decision to drive sober - Labor Day and every day,” said Col. Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Drunk driving is a crime that is totally preventable.”

During this period, law enforcement officers in Arkansas will reinforce their patrol assignments aimed at drastically reducing the number of impaired drivers who endanger themselves and others. The public will also notice an increase in state and national media messages designed to educate everyone about the dangers of drunk driving.

As you head out to Labor Day festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office recommends the following:

- Always plan ahead whenever you expect to drive and consume alcohol.

- Designate a sober driver before leaving and give that person your keys.

- If you have been drinking, call a taxi, take the bus or call a sober friend or family member to get you to your destination safely.

- Promptly contact law enforcement to report drunk drivers you see on the roadways.

- Always wear your seat belt.

- If you’re on a motorcycle, use protective safety equipment.

For more information on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on the ongoing “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign, visit TZDarkansas.org.