RALEIGH – It’s the most wonderful time of the year, unless you are drunk driving. The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program is partnering with law enforcement across the state during the annual Holiday Booze It & Lose It campaign, which runs now through Jan. 1, removing impaired drivers from roadways.
“We want to keep our roads safe and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Alcohol affects people differently, and you do not have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive. One drink is too many to get behind the wheel.
In 2016, 1,442 people were killed in crashes on North Carolina roadways, including 354 alcohol-related deaths. This year so far, there have been 292 deaths resulting from a crash involving an impaired driver.
During last year’s Holiday Booze It & Lose It campaign, which ran from December 9 through January 1, there were 893 impaired driving related crashes and 23 alcohol-related fatalities.
Drinking and driving should never be combined. Planning a sober ride in advance is necessary if the holiday celebration will include alcohol. The alternative could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, or of nearby drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Follow these tips to stay safe on the road this holiday season:
- If you will be drinking, do not drive. Buzzed driving is drunk driving.
- Plan your safe ride home before you start the party. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, use public transportation or use a rideshare app. Try the BeSmarterThanThat.com mobile site, which allows users to call a taxi or friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.
- If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange a safe way home.
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.
- Drive the posted speed limit. Slow down in work zones and in inclement weather.
- Don’t drive distracted.
- Buckle-up and make sure your passengers are always properly restrained in every seat, every time.
Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive. Plan ahead. You’re Smarter Than That.