This St. Patrick’s Day, Remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving – Opinion

By:   Susan DeCourcy and Bailey Bindle

No doubt about it; St. Patrick’s Day is a lot of fun. Parades, parties and the first hint of spring combine to make it a reason to celebrate. But let’s remember that the celebration can quickly turn into disaster with just one wrong decision – the decision to drink and drive.

We remind you that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Just one drink too many can put you over the legal limit and lead to the extreme consequences of arrest, loss of driving privileges, increased insurance rates, and even injury or death.

These nightmare scenarios are easy to avoid if you make the simple decision ahead of time to not drive if you’ve had anything to drink. Not even one drink.

Consider what happened one Saturday evening in Nebraska. After visiting friends, a 21-year-old driver and two friends decided to go night clubbing. Sometime after midnight, the driver’s vehicle left the road at a high rate of speed, crashing, killing the driver and his two passengers. The driver’s blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.

Avoid the heartache. Here are some reminders:

• PARTY PREPARATION: Designate a sober, reliable driver to get you home safely. Find the name of a ride service and keep the number in your phone, or download the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) SaferRide app. Using your location, the app can find a taxi nearby, as well as help you contact a friend from your selected list of contacts.

• ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Before you take your first sip of green beer, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend. Ensure your designated driver has committed to a sober evening. If you’re the designated driver, do not drink. Your friends are relying on you, as are the people with whom you share the road.

• EVERY DAY: First, commit to driving sober today, St. Patrick’s Day, and every day. Second, always keep the number of a ride service in your so you have a backup plan if you find yourself in need of a sober driver. Last, be sure to download NHTSA’s SaferRide app.

If you’re impaired, don’t let pride get in the way of calling a sober friend or family member to get you home safely. Help spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving, and the resources available to keep the streets safe.

Bailey Bindle is a member of the SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), National Student Leadership Council, and serves as the organization’s National VP of Communications. She is a student at Peru State College in Nebraska.

Susan DeCourcy is the Regional Administrator of NHTSA, Region 7 in Kansas City, MO.

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