could never happen to you, experts say everyone has a 40-percent chance of being in a crash involving alcohol use sometime in their life.According to a Gallup survey funded by State Farm for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), drunken driving is our No. 1 highway safety problem. Through education, increased law enforcement and stiffer penalties, the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents can be reduced.
Protect Yourself And Others. If you drink, be responsible. When with a group, choose a designated driver. Having one person agree to drink only non-alcoholic beverages and provide transportation for other members of the group can save lives
To encourage use of designated drivers, State Farm has developed an educational program titled “Be a Good Neighbor, Be A Designated Driver.” Ask a nearby State Farm agent for more information on this program.
While State Farm’s designated drivers program can help reduce the risk of drunken-driving accidents, here are some things you can do as a host to ensure responsible drinking at a social function:
Provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverage
Do not pressure guests to drink
Serve food to slow the rate of absorption of alcohol
Stop the flow of liquor at least one hour before the party is over
If guests drink too much, call a cab or arrange a ride with a sober driver.
The Encounter With The Drunken Driver
When you drive, you want to protect yourself and others you love. So, Be alert and watch out for impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers under the influence of alcohol often display certain characteristics when on the road. Please keep them in mind to avoid a dangerous situation..
Making wide turns.
Weaving, swerving, drifting or straddling the center line.
Almost striking an object or vehicle.
Driving on the wrong side of the road.
Driving at a very slow speed.
Stopping without cause.
Slow response to traffic signals.
Turning abruptly or illegally.
Driving with headlights off.
If you are in front of the drunken driver turn right at the nearest intersection and let him or her pass. If the driver is in front of you, stay a safe distance behind. And if the driver is coming at you, slow down, move to the right and stop.
Stricter Laws Can Help Too
Because education and public awareness alone cannot stop drunken driving, stricter laws and enforcement are needed if there is to be significant progress in the ongoing battle against drunken driving.
Lowering the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level from .10 to .08 percent in all states could go a long way toward reducing drunken driving. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a person’s driving ability is already impaired at a mere .02 BAC. A person with a BAC level in the .05 – 09 range is nine times more likely to have a crash than a person at zero BAC. Only a handful of states have this tough standard.
In addition to lowering the legal ABC to .08 percent as “per se” evidence of intoxication, State Farm supports laws that would:
Keep the minimum drinking age at 21. When the voting age was lowered to 18, many states lowered their drinking as well. In recent years, all states have reversed this and motor vehicle accident rates have declined.
Ensure that every alcohol offense is reported to the motor vehicle department and goes on the individual’s driving record. Too many courts permit some type of plea bargaining in DUI cases. As a result, offenders are put under supervision. “their records remain clean and they often drink and drive again. Complete records will help keep the problem drinker off the highways.
Enact administrative license revocation laws in all states. These laws allow arresting police officers to take the license of a suspected drunken driver who either fails or refuses to take a breath test. A number of states already have these laws.
Suspend licenses of under aged drinkers found driving with any measurable level of alcohol. If a driver is below the legal drinking age, any alcohol in the bloodstream is too much. Only a few states now have this standard for minors.
In the continuing fight against drunken driving, the message is clear. If you drink, don’t drive. If you’re serving alcohol at a party, think safety. After all, while drinking may be considered fun, it isn’t fun if you or someone you know gets hurt or dies.
What Does The Public Say About Drunken Driving?
In a Gallup survey funded by State Farm for MADD public attitudes toward drunken driving were measured.
The study revealed that:
Two in five people personally know someone killed or injured by a drunk driver.
Fifty-five percent know someone who has been convicted of drunken driving.
People are less likely to drink and drive because they fear injuring or killing other people and themselves.
Fear of jail is another reason why people are less likely to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
Of people who drink alcoholic beverage, nearly half use a designated driver in social situations.
Nearly 50 percent said the penalty for first-offense drunken driving isn’t severe enough.
More than 70 percent favor random police sobriety checkpoints.