On Halloween, and Every Day, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

Each year, thousands of trick-or-treaters flock to the streets on Halloween night. Thousands of others head to local bars and restaurants to also partake in the merry-making. Don’t put yourself or another at risk by choosing to drink and drive. 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 the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition to remind everyone of the dangers of drunk driving. Halloween poses a potentially dangerous threat to pedestrians, as more people are out at night on the hunt for candy. If your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. Remember: It’s never safe to drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
 
“If you know you’re going to go out and party on Halloween night, make sure you have a sober driver designated to get you home safely,” said Jillian Drew, Greene County Public Health’s Safe Communities Coordinator. “Even one drink can impair judgement. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the selfish choice to drink and drive. For most, even one drink can be one too many. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”
 
Between 2012 and 2016, there were 168 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31 – 5:59 a.m.  November 1). In 2016, there were 13 vehicle occupants killed in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night. According to NHTSA, 44 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2012 to 2016 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. Children out trick-or-treating, and those who accompany them, are also at risk, as 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night (2012-2016) involved drunk drivers. Younger drivers are most at risk: The 21- to 34-year-old age group accounted for the most fatalities (46%) in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2016.
 
“It is our hope that our community members are able to safely and responsibly enjoy the Halloween holiday,” said Lt. Matt Schmenk, Xenia Post Commander, Ohio State Highway Patrol. “In today’s world, there are many options available to drivers to help them get home safely if they have been drinking. We expect drivers to refrain from driving after drinking entirely. It is the law,” he said.
 
It is illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Even still, thousands die each year in drunk-driving-related crashes. In 2016, 10,497 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes. And 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’s fees, fines, car towing and repairs, higher insurance rates, and lost wages.
 
If you plan to head out for a night of Halloween partying, follow these simple tips for a safe and happy
evening:
  • Remember that it is never okay 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 sharing service to get home safely.
  • Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en), and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he orshe can be picked up.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, dial #677 on your cell phone when it is safe to do so.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
 
Always remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov. For more information on the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, please call 937-374-5683 or email jdrew@gcph.info.
 
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