Everyone, or most everyone I hope, has heard of the age old adage “Don’t drink and drive.” I mean there are signs, billboards, commercials – you surely can’t say you haven’t. But how many people truly know and understand that you do not have to be falling down drunk to be too intoxicated to drive? So that is my message to you today: Buzzed driving IS the same thing as drunk driving. You can still get arrested, you can still get fined, and you CAN still injure or kill someone if you pick up those keys after you have had a couple of drinks.
The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family. But it’s also a time to make sure you are keeping the ones you love safe. Whether you’re at a holiday gathering or a New Year’s Eve bash, many of our social plans involve driving. According to the National Safety Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the period between Christmas and New Year’s typically has one of the highest rates of impaired driving fatalities.
Fatalities related to drunk driving are 100 percent preventable and the spike in buzzed driving around the holidays is especially alarming.
Did you know:
- In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. These alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for more 31% of the total motor vehicle traffic facilities in the United States.
- Alcohol-impaired drivers were involved in 37% of traffic fatalities during the Christmas holiday period and 44% of traffic fatalities over New Year’s – making the winter holiday seasons one of the deadliest times to be on the road.
- Buzzed driving can cost around $10,000 in fines, legal fees and increased insurance rates.
Those numbers are pretty astounding, both the cost and the deaths. The U.S Department of Transportation and the Ad Council are asking everyone to drive smart this Holiday Season and to pledge not to drive buzzed.
Plan AHEAD this Holiday Season! If you plan on drinking at all, don’t plan on driving. Don’t assume that you’ll know whether you can safely drive or not at the end of the night. Just ONE drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or having a crash.
If you think you will be drinking on New Year’s Eve, here are some ideas to keep you safe:
- Have a pre-designated sober driver.
- Call a taxi.
- Carpool with a designated driver.
- Call a friend or family member.
- If you are celebrating where you can grab a room, do it!
Most of all take the pledge and ask your friends and family to do the same! This is not a topic to be shy about! Get the word out and YOU might just help save a life.
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