Labor Day is a popular day of celebration when many Americans consume alcohol. It’s a time of increased drunk driving which is why an increased law enforcement presence is needed.

What is Saturation Saturday?

Saturation Saturday was first launched in Missouri in 2016. It is a night of increased law enforcement patrols and sobriety checkpoints designed to reduce incidents of drunk or drugged driving. Last year Illinois and New York joined the campaign.

Due to the success of Saturation Saturday, MADD wants to hold simultaneous events across the country this year.

One of the cornerstones of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® is increased, high-visibility law enforcement to both catch drunk drivers and — equally important — to deter others by sending a strong message that if you drive drunk, you will get caught.

This increased enforcement can be accomplished with sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.

Over the years, MADD volunteers have joined law enforcement officers at checkpoints and roll calls to support their efforts. Now, more than ever, our heroes in law enforcement need MADD’s presence and encouragement to continue the fight against drunk and drugged driving.

And with the number of drunk driving deaths up 9 percent since 2014, the public needs to know that the battle to end this violent crime is intensifying.

It’s also important to note that checkpoints and saturation patrols are not just effective in stopping alcohol-impaired drivers; these countermeasures also work to catch drivers who are impaired by drugs other than alcohol.

Saturation Saturday takes place on August 24, the Saturday before Labor Day weekend. It coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs from August 14 through September 2.

What a Checkpoint is and How it Works

Sobriety checkpoints are what they sound like. They’re organized and coordinated spots on the road where law enforcement officers divert traffic to conduct sobriety checks. Checkpoints are usually set up in hotspots for crashes and impaired driving.

The primary purpose of these high-visibility efforts is to communicate to potential offenders that there is no tolerance for impaired driving and to help end it, not necessarily to make a large number of arrests.

When checkpoints are planned, publicized and executed there are great benefits to society. Checkpoints work as a deterrent to drunk and drugged driving, get impaired drivers off the road and help law enforcement collect valuable statistics.

The biggest benefit is that sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols save lives. Studies show that regular use of checkpoints can decrease impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.

How You Can Help at a Checkpoint:

  1. Pass out thank you cards to designated drivers
  2. Record statistics, such as counting vehicles and wait times
  3. Assist with observations
  4. Carry signs, thanking sober drivers
  5. Bring food and snacks for the officers and drivers
  6. Share your story
  7. Click here to find a MADD office near you.

To Get a Safe Ride Home

Tell your loved ones to never ride with a drunk or drugged driver. And never be one. Remind them to find another ride, use a rideshare app or call a cab. For more information on how to be a Safe Rider, check out reasonstoride.org. Be sure to share the link with your family and friends.