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Don’t Ruin the Holidays

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

 The holidays are merry and bright—unless you’re drinking and driving.

For many Americans, “holiday cheer” involves drinking alcohol at holiday parties and events. That means, unfortunately, there’s a spike in drunk-driving crashes each December.

  • During the 2013 holiday enforcement period (December 18-31), there were 1,180 people killed in crashes on our Nation’s roads, and almost a third (30%) of those fatalities were in drunk-driving crashes. On Christmas Day, 23 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes.
  • In the single month of December 2013, a staggering 733 people lost their lives in crashes involving a drunk driver.
  • Drunk-driving fatalities happen around the holidays year after year. In crash fatalities in December from 2009-2013, there were a total of 3,857 people killed in crashes that involved drivers with high blood alcohol concentrations (BACs).
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,719 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013, and 10,076 of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes. Sixty-eight percent of the drunk-driving fatalities involved at least one drunk driver in the crash with a BAC almost double the legal limit.
  • Compared with other age groups, teen drivers are at greater risk of death in alcohol-related crashes, even though they’re too young to legally buy or possess alcohol. Nationally in 2013, almost one out of five (19%) of the teen drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.
  • The percentage of drivers with BACs over the legal limit involved in fatal crashes in 2013 was highest for motorcycle riders (27%).
  • Nights and weekends are dangerous: the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers in fatal crashes was nearly four times higher at night than during the day (35% versus 9%). Fifteen percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were alcohol-impaired, compared to 30 percent on weekends.
  • Too many drunk drivers aren’t learning the lesson the first time: in 2013, drivers with BACs of .08 or higher involved in a fatal crash were six times more likely to have prior convictions for DWI.

Drunk driving will cost you more than you think.

  • Law enforcement across the Nation is cracking down on drunk driving this holiday season. They’re sharing the message: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
  • There’s no happy ending to drunk driving. You could head to jail in the back of a police cruiser, or worse—you could kill someone or end up seriously injured or dead yourself.
  • Law enforcement actively looks for drunk drivers, especially around the holidays. If you are caught driving after drinking, you will be arrested.
  • Some drivers think they can just refuse a breathalyzer test if they get pulled over, and avoid the consequences of a DUI. This isn’t true: in fact, in many jurisdictions, refusing to take a breath test results in immediate arrest, the loss of your driver’s license, and the impoundment of your vehicle.
  • Consider the legal and financial costs of drinking and driving. You could not only face jail time, the loss of your driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work, but there’s also the added humiliation and consequences of telling family, friends, and employers of your arrest. No matter how it ends, drinking and driving just isn’t worth it.

Keep the holidays full of cheer—find a sober ride home.

  • Make a plan for a safe way home before you attend that office party or holiday event. If you plan on drinking, designate a sober driver ahead of time and leave your keys at home. You can also program the phone number of a friend or local taxi service into your phone.
  • Before you take your first sip of alcohol, have your plan in place. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking, you’re more likely to make the wrong decision. Alcohol affects your judgment, so you might think you’re “okay to drive” when you’re not.
  • All it takes is one drink to impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, crashing your vehicle.
  • If you’ve been drinking, there’s always another way to get home safely. You can call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or [insert your local sober ride program specifics here]. Try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available at http://ow.ly/RWs3S for Android and http://ow.ly/RWs8h for iPhone users.
  • Remember: a designated driver isn’t the person who’s had the least to drink. Make sure your designated driver is a sober designated driver.
  • Some DUI offenders say the reason they drove drunk was because they didn’t want to spend money on a cab. The average DUI costs $10,000. Wouldn’t you rather pay cab fare?
  • Help others be responsible, too. If someone you know is drinking, don’t let that person get behind the wheel. If you don’t speak up, it could be a choice you regret for the rest of your life.
  • If you see someone driving drunk, call 911 when it’s safe to do so, and give a description of the vehicle to law enforcement. It is your business. Getting drunk drivers off the roads saves lives.

Don’t ruin the holidays for yourself and others.  Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.