You Choose: Drink OR Drive

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[Bozeman, Montana]—The holiday season is right around the corner. As Americans prepare for festivities with family and friends, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to remind all drivers that it’s dangerous to drive after drinking. You have to choose your role before drinking begins: will you drink or will you drive? Remember, even if you only have a little bit to drink and think you’re “okay to drive,” you could still be over the legal limit, because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

 

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin explained the slogan: “A lot of folks think they know their own limits. They think that if they’re just a little ‘buzzed,’ then they’re still good to drive.” But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Captain Steve Crawford of the Bozeman Police Department added, “Not only does alcohol impair your ability to drive, it impairs your ability to assess whether you are able to drive.  Designate a sober driver before you drink.”

 

In every state in the country, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. And for some people, it doesn’t take much to reach that level. “We really want all drivers to understand that you don’t have to be falling-down drunk to be too impaired to drive,” said Sergeant Dustin Lensing of the Belgrade Police Department.  That’s why our local law enforcement agencies are working with NHTSA to spread the message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

 

This anti-drunk-driving campaign aims to inform all Americans about the dangers of driving after drinking—even after drinking just a little. Drunk driving has become a terrible killer on our nation’s roads. Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America. This time of year is especially dangerous due to holiday celebrations and frequent parties. In December 2012 alone, there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator. On average, a third (31%) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving.

 

So this holiday season, NHTSA urges you to plan ahead: designate a sober driver. If you plan on drinking at all, don’t plan on driving. Don’t just assume that you’ll know whether you can safely drive or not at the end of the night.

 

Gallatin County drivers, please remember these tips to avoid a DUI and keep our roads safe:

 

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or having a crash.
  • If you will be drinking, plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public.
  • Remember, it is never okay to drive after drinking. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
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