Allow Life to Thrive, Don't Drink and Drive
By Allison Miller
A holiday that is celebrated by staying up for most of the night and drinking copious amounts of alcohol is easily the most likely combination for a seemingly enjoyable event to turn deadly.
The reasons for drinking more alcohol than an individual may consider their usual amount while celebrating New Year’s Eve are countless. It may be due to social pressures, the mentality of having a fresh start the next day, or the simple truth of getting carried away. There are endless consequences to drinking a large amount of alcohol any day, including loss of control of motor skills, memory impairment, and several more. Yet, the most serious consequence is losing your life behind the wheel of a car.
As of 2019, the amount of alcohol-related driving deaths was 28% of all traffic fatalities. On New Year’s Day, 36% of traffic deaths involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Simply by abstaining from driving after drinking, 100% of these fatalities may have been avoided.
Your blood alcohol content (BAC) can affect your driving in a number of ways, even if you "feel fine”. BAC is determined with a breathalyzer and refers to the amount of alcohol present in a specific amount of blood. That said, it is illegal in all 50 states to have a BAC higher than 0.08 while driving. Even below the legal limit, a BAC of 0.05 can have an effect on your small-muscular skills, trouble focusing your eyes, reduced response to emergency situations, and difficulty steering. The risks associated with a BAC of 0.08 or over only exponentially increase, with loss of speed control, concentration, and ability to brake effectively.
In addition to the legal penalties of driving under the influence (fines that cost thousands of dollars, arrest, and possible jail time), there are personal, irreversible consequences. While there is major danger in operating a vehicle under the influence on New Year’s Eve, it is a risk to be a sober driver as well. While sober drivers have more control over their response to emergency situations, they still expose themselves to the possibility of being hit by a drunk driver. This is why it is essential to hold ourselves, as well as our friends and family, accountable for driving safely on New Year’s Eve.
Here are some simple steps to take to avoid becoming a drunk driving statistic this New Year’s Eve:
Plan your ride ahead of time: pick one person to be the designated driver before anyone begins drinking to ensure there is a sober person in the group
Hold yourself accountable: if you have been drinking, do not drive, and find an alternative route home
Do not allow your friends or family to get behind the wheel of a car if they have been drinking: stay with them until you can ensure they have a safe way home and offer assistance whenever possible
Use your resources: in the age of Uber and Lyft, there are few excuses for not being able to locate a safe ride
Wear your seatbelt: if you are driving, make sure your passengers wear seatbelts too. It is the first line of defense against other impaired drivers
Remember: the loss of your own life or the life of someone you love is never worth it