TCC Tip: Steer Clear of Drunk Drivers on New Year's Eve

December 28, 2010
U.S. Navy drunk driving deterrence display

U.S. Navy drunk driving deterrence display

Before you make plans for a rockin' New Year's Eve, know that one in ten drivers out there have knowingly started their cars under the influence.

That's the message today from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which surveyed drivers over 16 years old earlier this year. In its phone poll of 2,000 people, the AAA Foundation discovered one in ten drivers reported driving in the prior 12 months, when they believed their blood-alcohol levels may have been over legal limits.

More disturbing: of that ten percent, more than half said they'd driven, possibly under the influence, more than once during the previous year.

On a more safety-conscious angle, the Foundation says at least 87 percent of drivers are aware of the dangers of driving drunk, and about the same percentage believe drivers convicted of DWI/DUI more than once should be forced to use alcohol-detecting ignition interlocks. Almost 70 percent think first-time offenders should have to install the devices as well.

The Foundation has embarked on a campaign that would make the ignition interlocks more prevalent in today's cars.

To avoid becoming one of the estimated 80 people who die in drunk-driving accidents each New Year's Eve, take care of the obvious before you drive--and while you're on the road:

Name your DD early. Have a designated driver in mind--preferably someone who doesn't even like to drink, and won't be tempted by even a single glass of champagne.

Stay over, if you must. The most dangerous hours are from midnight to 5 a.m., when revelers are making their way home. If your blood-alcohol levels are anything above zero, ask for a spot on the couch--or a spare room at the inn.

Download a taxi-finding app today. TaxiMagic and apps like it use geolocation to place you, so you won't have to struggle to find street signs, in whatever physical condition you might be. Make sure it's on your phone before you head out to party.

Don't be a hero. If you see a driver swerving or making obviously drunk maneuvers, just pull aside when it's safe and alert the authorities. It's not your job--and it's much more dangerous--to stop them yourself.

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