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Drinking and Driving: NEVER an Acceptable Combination

separator We pride ourselves, as a society, on the great progress we make in all kinds of fields—medicine, science, the arts, business…the list is endless. But for some reason, we can’t get out of the dark ages when it comes to making a decision to drink responsibly.

We look the other way when someone gets behind the wheel when impaired by alcohol. Look at the public reaction when the swimmer Michael Phelps, this year’s top medal winner at the Olympics, was arrested for driving under the influence. People were extremely forgiving, acknowledging that “everyone makes mistakes.” Some children even proclaimed that no matter what, Michael Phelps was still “their hero.” And so far, his sponsors have not announced any plans to discontinue their support of Phelps.

There’s a certain hypocrisy at work here. As a nation, we have identified drunk driving as a serious problem. But people are still willing to give offenders the benefit of the doubt, especially if nothing serious has happened. It seems that unless and until a drunk driving fatality hits close to home, people tend to think that getting in the car when you’ve had a few drinks is not such a big deal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 17,401 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2003. Make no mistake about it: getting behind the wheel when you’ve been drinking turns your car into a lethal weapon, and you are the owner of that weapon.

Every state in the U.S. has passed .08 Blood Alcohol Content laws for impaired driving. This makes it easier for law enforcement to prosecute to the fullest extent.

Make plans when you know you’ll be drinking
Do you intend to be out drinking on Christmas or New Year’s Eve or any other time? If so, don’t forget to make contingency plans.

  • Call a taxi if you’ve been drinking and need to get home
  • Plan on spending the night if you’re at someone’s home
  • Designate a friend in your group to abstain from drinking, and have that person be the only one who gets behind the wheel.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving; The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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