Captain Tim Hull with the Missouri State Highway Patrol hopes the campaign, You Drink & Drive -- You Lose, will send a strong message to anyone thinking about drinking and driving in Missouri.
"During 2007, 243 people died in more than 7,700 alcohol related crashes. Last year in our state someone was killed or injured every 1.7 hours in an alcohol-related crash," Hull said.
Hull said Oregon County seemed to fair better than other areas of the state.
Alcohol-related fatalities in Oregon County for the past five years were:
One fatality in 2003; none in 2004; one in 2005; three in 2006; and one in 2007.
Hull gave statistics of alcohol related fatalities during the same years across the state:
* 2003 -- 277
* 2004 -- 252
* 2005 -- 274
* 2006 -- 270
* 2007 -- 243
"Many drunk drivers are under the age of 21. In 2007, there were 1,037 underage drivers involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes in Missouri," Hull said.
Of those crashes 36 percent of the fatalities and 43 percent of the injuries occurred to some other party involved, not the drinking driver.
"Impaired driving is one of America's deadliest problems. Nationally, in 2006, nearly 16,000 people were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, approximately one fatality every 33 minutes," he said.
There will be check points conducted across the state through the Labor Day weekend at high crash locations where alcohol is a significant factor as a cause of serious or fatal accidents. "One of the benefits is to increase the awareness of possible detection, and thereby deter the drinker from driving while under the influence of alcohol," Hull said.
"We are all part of the solution. Here are some things people can do," Hull said.
* Don't risk it. If you plan to drive, don't drink.
* Encourage safe driving behaviors among family, friends and co-workers.
* Choose a designated driver before partying. A designated driver is someone who drinks no alcohol at all.
* Spend the night where the activity is being held, or provide a place to spend the night for someone who has been drinking.
* Take the car keys away from someone who has been drinking.
* Always wear a safety belt. It's the best defense against an impaired driver.