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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tips for Safe Summer Driving: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

As the fourth of July holiday weekend approaches, families and friends, retailers and law enforcement all gear up for what the celebration will bring. While everyone is making their plans, special attention needs to be given to the responsible use of alcohol.

•Be sure to limit access and take steps to prevent the use of alcohol to minors.
•Take steps to ensure that anyone who has consumed alcohol does not drink and drive.

Many people mistakenly think that if they are just slightly impaired, they are still capable of driving. Buzzed driving is drunk driving.

In 2007, 34 percent of all drivers involved in traffic-related crashes during the July 4th holiday period (6 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, 2007 to 5:59 a.m. on Thursday, July 5, 2007) had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the legal limit in all states.

Much of the tragedy from drunk driving can be prevented with a few simple precautions before going out to celebrate:

•Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin
•Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys
•If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely
•Use your community's Sober Rides program
•If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact your local law enforcement

If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk, no matter the level of impairment. Alcohol not only affects each person differently, it can affect the same person differently. The effects change based on your food consumption, chemical interactions with other medications and general health.

The consequences of driving impaired are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be significant. Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses.

Don't let this Fourth of July blow up in your face. Remember, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Designate your sober driver before the parties begin.

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