Don't Be a Statistic: Avoid Holiday Drinking and Driving
The holiday season is here, and a celebratory spirit is in the air. However, an unpleasant truth remains. Each year, holiday drinking and driving endanger many lives. Even with fewer people going to parties this year, it’s likely that holiday drunk driving statistics will remain high.
In 2018, 839 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in December. Of that number, 285 were killed between Christmas and New Year’s. All of those deaths were entirely preventable. In fact, in the same year, one person was killed every 50 minutes by a drunk driver — across the country.
According to NHTSA, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 and higher in all 50 states. Speech, vision, and balance become impaired at this BAC level. Reaction times also become reduced.
Yet, in 2018, 1,878 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes where drivers had lower alcohol levels (BACs of .01 to .07). The bottom line is this: no BAC level is safe when it comes to driving.
So, how can you avoid being part of the holiday drunk driving statistics this year?
If you’re thinking of celebrating with friends, be sure to make plans for getting home safely. Remember that even one drink can impair your judgment. Either get a designated driver to take you home or call a cab, rideshare, or sober ride program if there’s one in your community.
Even if you’re staying home, make sure that you’ve taken the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others.
If it’s your turn to be the designated driver, it’s your obligation to stay completely sober. Also, don’t get in a car with someone who has been drinking.
Host Alcohol-Free Parties
If you’re hosting a gathering, make sure that you offer alcohol alternatives (this will also endear you to those who are unable to drink or choose not to). Premium soda, alcohol-free punch, and mulled holiday cider are all excellent options for alcohol-free beverages.
Stop serving alcohol an hour before the end of the party. It’ll give those who’ve had at least one drink enough time to sober up. So, plan accordingly.
Also, don’t let friends drive home if they’re drunk. Call a cab and offer to help them retrieve their car the next day. If you have space, suggest that they stay the night. Don’t be afraid to take away their keys if you need to.
Some hosts have everyone hand in their car keys upon arrival. The keys will be returned to the owners when it’s time to leave. If a guest isn’t fit to get behind the wheel, this may reduce a confrontation.
Remember that holiday drinking and driving endangers lives. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Don’t Pressure Others or Be Pressured
Don’t let anyone pressure you into drinking. Similarly, don’t pressure others. Insisting that someone takes a drink is rude — and dangerous.
If you’re the one being pressured, resist graciously, and if the demands continue, walk away. You may also consider leaving altogether.
Acknowledge if Your Alcohol Use is Unhealthy
One thing holiday drinking and driving statistics don’t reveal is the number of DUI offenders who acknowledge that they need to change their drinking behavior.
Seek help if you experience intense cravings, need more alcohol to feel a “buzz,” or find it hard to stop drinking once you’ve started.
If you suspect that you have a drinking problem, avoid parties where alcohol is served.
Drinking and driving can result in the loss of your license and even jail time. It can also ruin somebody else’s life. Don’t be part of this year’s holiday drinking and driving statistics: Party responsibly.
For the 2020 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign materials by the United States Department of Transportation, click here.
And, to learn more about responsible drinking and safe driving tips, check out our blog.
If the worst happens and you end up with a DUI conviction, Draeger Interlock can help. Contact us at 1-800-332-6858 to see how you can get an ignition interlock device installed in your car. We can get you back on the road safely and painlessly!
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