Good weather is a motorcyclists’ friend, and the Labor Day holiday weekend is a great time to hop on the bike and enjoy the last warm days of summer. To help protect motorcyclists and other motorists during the busy 2020 Labor Day holiday, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Watch UR BAC program will partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives.

The highly-visible national enforcement campaign, Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from Aug. 19 through Sept. 7, 2020. During this period, we will show zero tolerance for drunk driving — whether riding a motorcycle or driving a passenger vehicle. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of riding impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk riding on U.S. roadways.

“Motorcyclists are an important part of our transportation community, and we want them to be safe and feel safe,” said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family and Community Health Agent Leticia Hardy. “We need commitment from our community members that they’ll keep the streets free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe Labor Day weekend. This is a campaign to get the message out that drunk riding is illegal, and it takes lives. Help us put an end to this senseless behavior.”

Unfortunately, the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes are often motorcyclists. In 2018, motorcyclists accounted for 25 percent of these fatalities, with 4,985 motorcyclists killed — compared to 21 percent for passenger cars, 19 percent for light trucks, and 3 percent for large trucks. Of those motorcyclists who died in single-vehicle crashes, 39 percent were alcohol-impaired.

The 2018 Labor Day holiday was especially dangerous for riders, who accounted for approximately 25 percent of the alcohol-induced motor vehicle fatalities. This is why AgriLife Extension’s Watch UR BAC program is working with NHTSA to remind motorcyclists that drunk riding is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As riders head out to Labor Day festivities, remember: Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Motorcyclists should be aware of other drivers on the roads, too, and that motorcycles can be difficult to spot. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and five-times more likely to be injured. Furthermore, improper use of a vehicle’s rear-view and side-view mirrors contributes to collisions, particularly with smaller vehicles like motorcycles. With roughly 40 percent of a vehicle’s outer perimeter zones hidden by blind spots, improper adjustment, or lack of use of side-view mirrors can have dire consequences for motorcyclists.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family and Community Health Agent, Leticia Hary, recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and riding:

• Remember: It is never OK to drink and ride. Even after only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.

• Know a friend who is about to drink and ride? Take their keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

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