How do so many people get away with drunk driving until someone is killed? Is there a way to prevent this?
Fewer people are getting away with drunk and distracted driving. There are more government campaigns, police crack-downs and consumer groups such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) waging the battle against drunk driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is sponsoring “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign from August 21-September 7. On average, more than 10,000 people die on the roads each year due to drunk driving – that’s about one fatality every 51 minutes. In order to stop this deadly epidemic, police are cracking down on drunk (and impaired) driving. The NHTSA is reminding people “they’ll [police] see you before you see them.” In many of our local towns with a concentration of restaurants and bars in close proximity, the police wait until the bars close and for patrons to leave. While some people find this annoying, the local police departments are protecting you.
There are about 1.4 million—yes million— DUI arrests in the U.S. annually which clearly shows the police are cracking down on drunk, drugged and distracted drivers. This is one of the best steps toward prevention.
In association with the NHTSA efforts to stop drunk driving, there is a new pledge to sign to not driving buzzed or drunk. A lot of people, especially young drivers, believe they’re just a “little buzzed” and therefore, don’t feel they are impaired. But they are. “Buzzed. Busted. Broke.” is another theme at the NHTSA, as they remind drivers that if you are caught, the cost will be about $10,000 in legal fees, court costs and insurance rate increases.
How do you prevent traffic fatalities?
- If you are driving alone, don’t drink (or plan accordingly to be sober when you leave).
- Plan a way home with a friend, taxi or public transportation.
- When going out with friends or family, decide in advance who will be the designated driver.
If you are faced with a situation where someone who’s impaired is trying to drive, here are some tips on how to stop them recommendations by MADD:
- Be as non-confrontational as possible.
- Suggest alternate ways of getting to their destination — a cab, a sober driver, or public transportation.
- Remember that the person you are talking to is impaired — talk a bit more slowly and explain things more fully than if you were speaking to a sober person.
- Explain that you don’t want them to drive because you care and you don’t want them to hurt themselves or others.
- Suggest that they sleep over (if you’re at a house party or at a hotel if they have the means to do so).
- Enlist a friend to help you or to act as moral support — it’s more difficult to say “no” to two (or more) people than one.
- If possible, get the person’s keys. It is far easier to persuade the potential driver when you are holding their keys.
- If all else fails, call law enforcement if the driver is truly impaired. It’s better to have a friend arrested than injured or killed, or has the potential to kill someone else. Enjoy the rest of the summer and this beautiful weather!
- All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion want you to drive safely to arrive home safely. Please consider following these guidelines and sharing them with others.