Buzzed driving is drunk driving

Buzzed driving is drunk driving

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Halloween is a holiday tradition in America with millions of people, young and old, working on their best costumes and gearing up for a night of candy and festivities.

The evening also comes with parties and get-togethers, as well as an increase in drunk drivers on the roads. To help spread the message that buzzed driving is drunk driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming up with Safe Communities of Tuscarawas County and the Tuscarawas County Health Department to remind everyone of the dangers of drunk driving.

Drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween as more pedestrians are out at night on the hunt for candy. If your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. It’s never safe to drink and drive.

From 2015-19 there were 126 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. to Nov. 1 at 5:59 a.m. According to NHTSA, 41% of all people killed in motor-vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2015-19 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. Adults between the age of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (62%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2019.

“Even though Halloween is on a Sunday this year, we’re certain to see extra parties throughout the weekend, and every single partygoer should plan their sober ride home in advance,” said Kelly Snyder, health educator and Safe Communities coordinator for the Tuscarawas County Health Department. “Even one drink can impair judgement. You should never put yourself or others at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive. Even one drink can be one too many. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving.”

Tragically, about one-third of all traffic-crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers with blood-alcohol concentrations at or above .08 grams per deciliter. In 2019 there were 10,142 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.

Drivers also should keep an eye out for pedestrians, whether they be children trick-or-treating or adults who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated also can be deadly, as lack of attention to their surroundings could put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

“We want our community to have fun on Halloween but to also stay safe and make responsible choices,” Snyder said. “In today’s world there are many options available to drivers to help them get home safely if they’ve been drinking. We expect drivers to refrain from driving after drinking.”

Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05. The costs can be financial too. If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney fees, fines, car towing, higher insurance rates and lost wages.

Celebrate with a plan

If you plan to head out for a night of Halloween partying, follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:

Remember it is never OK to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

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