Motor vehicle accidents, particularly those caused by drunk driving, tend to spike between the Christmas and New Year holidays. This is why law enforcement in Kentucky, Indiana and nationwide are amping up efforts to raise awareness about the risks of impaired driving and to reduce wrecks that are the result of drunk driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday crackdown. Police across the United States will increase their vigilance for impaired driving over the holidays, and checkpoints will be established in many places, particularly on the night of New Year’s Eve.

The NHTSA is supporting law enforcement with a national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” advertising campaign that ties in with the forthcoming “RoboCop” film. The public service announcement “RoboCop is Here: Drive Sober” features the warning that “this holiday season, cops are stepping up their mission to protect the streets from drunk driving.”

According to the NHTSA, crashes involving drunk drivers claimed 10,322 lives in 2012, an increase of nearly 5 percent over the previous year. The NHTSA also reports that about 41 percent of all accident-related deaths that occur between Christmas and New Year’s Day stem from wrecks caused by drunk driving.

Accidents resulting from drunk driving are entirely preventable, and these wrecks often have tragic, life-changing impacts on victims and their family members. If you plan on drinking before getting in a car over the holidays, it’s a good idea to follow the advice of RoboCop in the NHTSA commercial: put your keys down and designate a sober driver or take a taxi.

For additional information about the effects of alcohol and how you can encourage sober driving during the holidays, please see the NHTSA’s “Safety in Numbers” report.