Although you can't eradicate every instance of drinking and driving across the country, taking ownership over the situation around you can prevent your family and friends from getting behind the wheel after drinking.
Out With Friends
Whether you're celebrating a birthday with a party at a bar or just getting together with a few friends for drinks after work, develop a plan to address how everyone will get home safely. Ensure your group has at least one designated driver; if no one volunteers, step into the role yourself. If everyone in the group wishes to drink, pool your money together for a taxi ride to and from the establishment.
Hosting a Party
When hosting a party at which people will drink alcohol, remind your guests that drinking and driving isn't acceptable. Gather every guest's car keys upon arrival and only return the keys when a particular guest is ready to leave and is sober. Allow intoxicated guests to sleep over, or you can call a taxi company to arrange rides for those who wish to get home. Encourage some of your guests to be designated drivers and provide a variety of nonalcoholic beverage choices.
Government and Community Options
The responsibility to prevent drinking and driving extends beyond the individual. Government and community groups take steps to work toward eliminating this problem. Steps include prosecuting drunk drivers to the fullest extent of the law, enacting harsher penalties for those with higher blood-alcohol concentration, revoking the licenses of offenders and mandating alcohol-treatment programs. Devices such as electronic monitoring and ignition locks also aid in preventing offenders from repeating their actions. Community groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving educate the public about the risks of driving drunk and partner with various levels of government for awareness campaigns.
Drink in Moderation
The blood-alcohol concentration limit in all 50 states and the District of Columbia is 0.08. Driving with anything at or above that in your system is illegal. Because it can be difficult to predict how one or more alcoholic beverages affect your level, it's best to avoid drinking any amount when you plan to drive. In general, keep your alcohol intake at a moderate level, which equates to a maximum of one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Excessive alcohol intake can lead not only to impairment but long-term health issues such as liver disease.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Impaired Driving: Get the Facts
- State Farm: Tips to Prevent Drinking and Driving
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving: Tips: How to Prevent Someone From Driving Drunk
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: Alcohol-Impaired Driving
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health
- Potsdam: Alcohol Problems and Solutions
- MADD: What We Do -- Frequently Asked Questions
- Photo Credit KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images
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