SOURCE: NHTSA

NHTSA

December 26, 2014 11:00 ET

It's Never Safe to Drink and Drive

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwired - Dec 26, 2014) - New Year's Eve is a night to reflect on what has been, look ahead at what's to come and celebrate with friends and family. Sadly though, it can quickly turn from festive to tragic when people combine their celebrations with too much alcohol and driving. If alcohol figures into your party plans this year, local law enforcement has a message for you: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. They will be out in force actively searching for drunk drivers -- increasing patrols, setting up roadblocks and arresting those who choose to drink and drive.

High Percentage of Fatalities Over the Legal Limit
Of the 170 people killed on the New Year's Holiday in 2012/2013, 5% of them had a BAC of at least .01% and 42% had a BAC of .08 or above -- the legal limit in all 50 states. 

Don't take a Chance
"It's time for all drivers to get the message," said Susan DeCourcy, Regional Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Region 7. "Drunk driving isn't a victimless crime. You could kill yourself or someone else, or get a DUI and go to jail." It's illegal in every state to drive over the limit of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL). And it might not take as much alcohol as you think to get there.

Every year, drunk drivers in America kill more than 10,322 people. It's one of the primary missions of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to drastically reduce this toll on our Nation's highways. If you're drinking and driving, area police will find and arrest you. No warnings, no excuses. You'll face jail time, fines, loss of your driver's license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses, totaling $10,000 on average. Not to mention the humiliation among your family, friends, and workplace.

One sure way to avoid a DUI
Some people think that if they get pulled over for driving drunk, they can just refuse a breath test to avoid the DUI charge. "Not true," says DeCourcy.  "In most jurisdictions, refusing a preliminary breath test means an automatic arrest, and the likely loss of your driver's license for an extended period of time." 

The only way to truly avoid a DUI is to drive sober. There are many ways to get home safely after drinking, and driving isn't one of them. Designate a sober driver ahead of time, or call a friend or family member. You could also use public transportation or call a taxi. The cost of cab fare is nothing compared to a $10,000 DUI or the cost of someone's life, and the 'inconvenience' of not driving your own car home is nothing compared to the inconvenience of spending the holidays behind bars.

In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, law enforcement is calling on everyone to be alert. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away -- you could save a life. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take his or her keys and help him or her get home safely. 

Remember these tips on New Year's Eve and throughout the year:

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk -- or worse, the risk of having a crash.
  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member or use public transportation.

Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov

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