Are “buzzed” drivers drunk drivers? What is being done to discourage this behavior?
“America has more drunk drivers than most countries have people.” True or False? According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), this sadly, is true. The other staggering statistic is that 10,000 people a year die in drunk-driving accidents. “Buzzed” drivers are drunk drivers and contribute to these statistics. The most dangerous hours to be on the road are midnight to 3 a.m. when a life is lost every 23 minutes in this country from drinking and driving.
The NHTSA campaign that “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” to coincide with young people being out of school and adults out later in the summer months drinking and driving.
Just being a little buzzed means you’ve had too much to drink and your judgement may be impaired. It can be a rationale for drinking and driving… “I’m only buzzed. I’m not drunk.” Think again. The NHTSA is not buying it, and neither am I. It’s like the old saying, “You can’t be a little pregnant.” You either are impaired or you’re not. You were either drinking or not. Your blood alcohol level is either a .08 or higher (in the impaired driving range) or it is not.
“Alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive, it impairs your judgment about whether you can or should drive. Too often, people who drink think they are okay to get behind the wheel because they only feel a “buzz.” The truth is you don’t have to be falling down drunk to be a menace to everyone around you on the highways. Remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” according to the NHTSA, who asks that you designate a sober driver every time you are out drinking.
Another campaign: “Buzzed. Busted. Broke. Buzzed driving is drunk driving.” This campaign, sponsored by the Ad council, has a pledge on line to not drive buzzed and more than 19,000 people have signed it. To add your name, click here. If you get caught, plan on a bill of about $10,000 in legal fees, court costs, higher insurance rates (if you don’t lose your license) and fines. Drinking and driving and texting are the biggest causes of distracted driving which is rampant. This past year has seen a major increase in highway fatalities from the previous year.
Remember to plan ahead if you are going to drink:
1. If I want to drive, how will I get home? Another driver, a taxi, or walk?
2. Do I have a designated driver who will use his/her own vehicle?
3. If I’m going to a friend’s home, can I stay overnight?
If you want to drink enough to get a buzz, consider yourself a potential drunk driver and plan when you are sober, not afterward.
All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota want you to have fun. Plan accordingly and help make the roads safer for everyone.
P.S. As I write this blog with the news on in the background, comes the news of a bright 21-year-old MIT Student who was in New York this past weekend with friends and killed by a drunk driver in an SUV—the drunk driver was an off-duty police officer. No one is exempt from a lack of judgement.