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Start planning for your sober rides home early this holiday season

December 21, 2016 by Steven M. Gursten

Remember, “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving” – Here’s how you can stay safe and help prevent drunk driving car accidents


Have you ever had a glass of champagne or a beer or two at a holiday party and then hopped behind the wheel for a quick drive home? You may feel just fine and think you’re okay to drive, but your BAC level and Michigan law enforcement will likely disagree – especially since you didn’t plan a sober ride home first.

This holiday season, the Office of Highway Safety Planning for Michigan is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind drivers that “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”

And motorists are encouraged to designate a sober driver before the holiday parties begin as part of the state’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs December 15 to January 1.

Our injury attorneys want to play a part in spreading the word to help keep people safe this holiday season and help them understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they’re sober. Alcohol affects people differently, and you don’t have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive. Just take a look at my blog post on what’s more dangerous given the impaired driving behaviors of drinking and driving, drugged driving and distracted driving.

Not to take the fun out of the holidays, but drunk driving kills thousands of people in our country every year. Just look at the statistics:

In 2015, 35,092 people were killed in automobile accidents on our roadways, and 29 % (10,265) died in crashes that involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08.

This time of year is especially dangerous. In December 2015 alone, there were 840 people killed in car accidents involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In Michigan, over the 2015 Christmas holiday, there were six auto accident fatalities and many more people injured in car accidents. The holiday hours were measured between 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve to 11:59 p.m. on December 27, 2015, according to the Michigan State Police.

Please remember these tips to avoid a DUI and to help prevent drunk driving car accidents:

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or causing a car accident.
  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on not driving. Plan a sober ride home ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive — even a short distance. Call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or an Uber or Lyft. Also, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.
  • Help others be responsible. If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys, take them home, or and help them arrange a safe ride home.
  • Call police when you see a drunk driver on the road when it’s safe to do so. Your actions could help save a life.

I can’t stress it enough; play it safe this holiday season and always plan your sober ride before the festivities begin. And if you’re buzzed, do not drive. Please, don’t allow yourself to become a statistic because you failed to plan ahead.

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