Montpelier — This holiday season, Williams County Safe Communities Coalition is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind all drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Before traveling to holiday festivities or seasonal vacations, make sure you plan for a sober ride home before enjoying an alcoholic beverage. This holiday season, and every day, remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
“It’s critical that drivers understand the significance of sober driving, and the tragic consequences of driving drunk. With more drivers on the roads during this busy time of year, it’s more important than ever for us to stress the importance of safe driving habits,” said Peg Buda, Williams County Safe Communities Coordinator.
“We know everyone is rushing around, finishing those last-minute errands, and attending holiday gatherings. Before you ever head out to the festivities, make sure you plan a sober ride home, because driving drunk should never be an option.”
“Help us spread the message: Even one drink is one drink too many if you’re the driver. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving,” she said.
According to NHTSA, 10,142 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2019, accounting for nearly one-third of traffic crash fatalities. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2015 to 2019 — one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 52 minutes in 2019.
This is why Williams County Safe Communities is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to the holiday festivities, help us spread the word: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
This holiday season, drivers are urged to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving. Doing so could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, of pedestrians, or of other drivers and passengers nearby.
If you’re the designated driver, make sure you keep that promise of safety to yourself and your passengers. Stay hydrated with water and other non-alcoholic beverages.
Support other designated drivers, too. It can be a long night, but people are counting on you, not to mention the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the streets. Take the role of designated driver seriously — people are relying on you.
Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL. And the costs can be financial, too: If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, higher insurance rates, and lost wages.
CELEBRATE WITH A PLAN
Before ever heading out, it’s vital to plan ahead. Be honest with yourself: You know whether you’ll be drinking or not. Follow these ideas to ensure you and your fellow partygoers stay safe.
•Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver to get home safely.
•If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911 to contact a local law enforcement agency.
•Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
For more information about the Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving campaign, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.