On August 21, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” law enforcement crackdown on drunk driving. More than 10,000 law enforcement agencies across the country will be cracking down on drunk drivers and will have zero tolerance for drivers caught with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher (the legal limit). The crackdown runs until September 7, but police officers are always on the lookout for drunk drivers.
According to the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), over 1.4 million arrests are made for DWI each year. Nearly 13,000 people are killed each year in alcohol-related accidents, and hundreds of thousands more are injured.
Many people know these statistics and have heard the stories about drunk drivers, yet they still choose to drive while intoxicated. Why? Maybe because they don’t think they’ll get caught. Maybe they only live a couple miles away and figure they can make it home. Others might honestly think that they’re under the legal limit.
Regardless of how close you live to the party or bar, driving while intoxicated is a gamble that you should never take. If you plan on drinking while away from home, take preventative measures before you leave. Here are a few safety tips:
Have a designated driver: Your group of friends can take turns being the designated driver for the night. It definitely beats having to bail someone out of jail—and jail might be the best-case scenario.
Have numbers for a cab: Before you leave for the night, look up phone numbers for cabs in your city. Program them into your phone so that you have them for later. There are also apps like Uber and Lyft that can help get you a ride home.
If you’re hosting: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that if you’re hosting a party, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver. Have plenty of food available so that your guests don’t drink on an empty stomach. Make sure you have non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of water. Be sure all your guests leave with a sober driver. You can always call them a cab, or you can offer them your spare bedroom.
Never chance it: If you are on the fence about whether you’ve had too many to drive home, don’t chance it. A cab ride home will be much less expensive than if you were to get picked up for a DWI or worse—get in an accident and hurt someone else.
Talk to your kids. Be proactive, and talk to your kids early about driving while intoxicated. Lead by example; don’t ever get behind the wheel if you’ve had too much to drink.
If you ever feel like you maybe shouldn’t be driving, then you definitely shouldn’t be. Call a ride or give your keys to someone who can safely get you home. The risk is never worth it.