(Bismarck, ND) -- Law enforcement agencies across the state will have extra patrols for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement period August 20th to September 6th. The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol want to remind drivers to always drive free from impairment of alcohol and/or prescription or illicit drugs.

North Dakota has 47 Drug Recognition Expert Law Enforcement Officers across the state that are specially trained in recognizing if a person is under the impairment of drugs. Drug-related impairment can be different than alcohol impairment and includes restlessness and exaggerated reflexes. All North Dakota drivers should take personal responsibility and always drive free from impairment.

“The training that our DREs go through is rigorous, but it is vitally important to have these officers on patrol to identify drivers who may be impaired to remove them from the road,” said DRE Coordinator and State Trooper Tarek Chase. “Dangers from impaired driving aren’t only from alcohol or illicit drugs. Drivers should read the label on all prescriptions they take and verify if it impacts the ability to drive.”   

Preliminary crash fatalities in 2021 are trending higher than 2020 with 65 fatalities as of August 12th. 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 reminder is a part of the Summer H.E.A.T. (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic) strategy and Vision Zero initiative to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads. Summer H.E.A.T. will take place through August to encourage everyone to wear a seat belt, use appropriate child passenger safety seats, follow all posted speed limits and drive sober and distraction-free.