The holidays are in full swing and endless parties are on the calendar. Whether it’s the annual office party, a friend’s Crazy Santa gift exchange, or your grandmother’s Christmas dinner, you should have a plan in place if you intend to indulge in the festive drinks. Eggnog, mulled wine, cocktails, and beer can all leave you feeling buzzed. And if you’re buzzed, you shouldn’t drive.
To help spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving, local law enforcement in your community is partnering with NHTSA to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives. The national high-visibility enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from December 14-31, 2018. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for impaired driving of any kind.
In 2017, 29 percent (10,874) of all fatal vehicle crashes involved drunk drivers; 885 of those deaths occurred in December. These crashes are 100-percent preventable. It’s simple: Never drink and drive. Technology has put safe, sober rides at our fingertips, either through car services or access to the nearest public transportation. A friend might even step up and serve as a designated sober driver to get you home safe and sound after a night out. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, and drunk driving is always illegal.
The holidays prove to be extra dangerous for drivers: last Christmas, 131 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes across the nation. Too many people take to the roadways after consuming alcohol because they think they are safe to drive. They may think they’ve had enough to eat, enough water to drink, or that their weight may factor into the equation. But these are inaccurate ways of measuring whether you are able to drive safely. Once you’ve been drinking, you’re not capable of judging your ability to drive. So, if you drink, don’t drive.
Keep in mind that impairment comes in many forms; drug-impaired driving is an increasing problem on America’s roads. Driving while impaired by any substance—alcohol or drugs—is illegal, period. The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. It’s that simple.
Party with a Plan
Before you ever head out to a holiday party—or any event where alcohol will be served—make sure you plan ahead to get home safely. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously—your friends are relying on you. Follow these tips for a safe night out:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
- Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
- Use your community’s sober ride program. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact law enforcement.
- Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
Stay safe this holiday season.