Drinking and Driving on New Year’s Eve

December 29th, 2010

It’s now that time of year when the warnings about drinking and driving spring up. Let it be known that yours truly does indeed plan to drink, but not to drive. There have been times in my life when the situation was otherwise.

Like the 1 in 10 people who knowingly drove drunk (as reported by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety), I occasionally said, “the hell with it,” and got behind the wheel anyway.

Well, the report makes clear that by doing that you are battling not only almost-universal social disapproval (93 percent) but the odds: Alcohol-related fatalities on New Year’s Day were almost 150 percent higher than on the same day of the week during other days of the holiday season.

The report also shows that 90 percent of its 2,000 respondents support the use of an alcohol-ignition interlock—to disable the car if it measures any alcohol—for drivers convicted more than once of DUI. Using the device for first-time offenders was recommended by 69 percent.

And yet, not only will the New Year’s drinking and driving continue, but more deaths will result—and we all know this. I don’t have an answer, other than the obvious one of “Do one or the other but not both together.”

However, TheCarConnection does, with a headline that reads, “Steer Clear of Drunk Drivers on New Year’s Eve.” Gosh, I hadn’t thought of that, guys. You mean, “avoid (somehow) drunk drivers on the road”? Or maybe, “make sure your airline pilot isn’t loaded”?

Not to be too hard on TCC, they do offer some typical but very practical advice, which we pass along:

  1. Name your designated driver early.
  2. Stay over on the couch, or in a motel, if you have been boozing.
  3. Use a phone app like TaxiMagic to call for a cab.
  4. If you see someone obviously driving drunk, pull over and call the cops. Don’t try to stop them yourself.

Enjoy the party, but please remember these four cautions. You’ll have a better time and even live to tell about it.

Confess: You did drink and drive at least once, didn’t you?

—jgoods

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