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Drinking and Driving

Through education, increased law enforcement and stiffer penalties, the number of alcohol-related traffic crashes can be reduced. What you can do to protect yourself and others.
If you drink, be responsible. When with a group, choose a designated driver. Having one person agree to drink only non-alcoholic beverages and provide transportation for other members of the group can save lives.
As a host, here are some things you can do to ensure responsible drinking at a social function:
  • Provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not pressure guests to drink.
  • Serve food to slow the rate of absorption of alcohol.
  • Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is over.
  • If guests drink too much, call a cab or arrange a ride with a sober driver.

How to detect a drunk driver

According to law enforcement officials, drivers under the influence of alcohol often display certain characteristics, which can include:
  • Making wide turns
  • Weaving, swerving, drifting or straddling the center line.
  • Almost striking an object or vehicle
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Driving at a very slow speed
  • Stopping without cause
  • Braking erratically
  • Responding slowly to traffic signals
  • Turning abruptly or illegally
  • Driving after dark with headlights off.
Please keep these characteristics in mind to avoid a dangerous situation. If you are in front of an impaired driver, move to your right and let him or her pass. If the driver is in front of you, stay a safe distance behind. If the driver is coming at you, slow down, move to the right and stop. Once you are a safe distance from the impaired driver, call 9-1-1 or the police. Do not attempt to stop the impaired driver's vehicle yourself.

Stricter laws can help too

(MADD) suggests passage and enforcement of laws that would:
  • Enforce the minimum drinking age in all states
  • Require that convicted impaired drivers be subject to alcohol testing prior to reinstatement of their driver's license (This would be effective in getting the chronic impaired driver off the roads.)
  • Enact administrative license revocation laws in all states allowing arresting police officers to automatically suspend a driver's license if the driver is found to exceed the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit or if they refuse to take a breath test
  • Set up a graduated license system where a newly licensed driver is only given certain driving privileges. As the driver matures, these privileges would increase.
  • Suspend the license of underage drinkers found driving with any measurable level of alcohol in their blood. If a driver is under 21, any alcohol in the bloodstream is illegal.
  • Increase roadside sobriety checkpoints. These checkpoints would catch drivers in the act and be an effective deterrent.