If you choose to drink, here is what the experts suggest:
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Two of the most important things you can do are never drive after drinking and never ride with someone who has been drinking. Volunteer to be a designated driver, call a taxi for yourself or someone else who has had too much to drink or stay the night where you are. There are plenty of ways to get home safely, but drinking and driving is not one of them.
Some of the ways that you can be a responsible host include:
While there may be an increase in intoxicated drivers and related crashes around the holidays, alcohol-related crashes happen every day. From January 1, 2007 to October 31, 2007, 185 alcohol related crashes occurred within the city of Chesapeake. During this same time period, there were 532 impaired drivers arrested in the city.
Generally, the young driver is more involved than other drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 21-34 year old impaired drivers are involved in approximately 50% of all alcohol-related fatal crashes.
There are approximately 1.5 million arrests each year for DUI, nationally. While this may seem like a lot, there are many more drivers who, if picked up by the police, would be arrested for DUI. Even if a driver has a blood alcohol concentration lower than the legal limit (0.08% in Virginia) they should still not get behind the wheel of a car since even one drink can impair your ability to be a safe driver.
No. Of the 1.5 million drivers arrested for driving under the influence in 1997, two-thirds (1 million) were considered first-time offenders.
This can be difficult to isolate as the sole cause. It's pretty clear that drinking plays a significant part in many fatal crashes. However, 42% of intoxicated drivers involved in fatal crashes were also speeding. It's unclear whether they would have been speeding if they had not been drinking, or whether speeding and drinking and driving - both risk-taking behaviors - were part of their general lifestyle pattern.
A person does not have to be drinking to be arrested for driving under the influence. Drivers can be arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of 0% if there is proof that the impairment is due to drug use. Driving after using drugs appears to be more common among young drivers (13% for those 16 to 20 years old) than older drivers (5% for those 21 and older).
"Drunk driving" typically refers to driving with a blood alcohol concentration which is at a level where a person can be arrested for DUI (in Virginia, this is 0.08). Impaired driving means that a person's skills - including judgment, coordination, response time, and more - are affected much earlier before the BAC reaches 0.08%. It also refers to the fact that other drugs, including certain prescription drugs, over the counter medications, and illicit drugs, can affect driving skill. Each of these has important lessons for safety.