Drive sober or get pulled over this holiday season

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This holiday season, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is teaming up with 50 local law-enforcement agencies statewide and Idaho State Police to make our roads safer.

A statewide mobilization is focused on preventing impaired driving runs from December 18 to January 3, and agencies want to remind all drivers to plan a sober ride this holiday season.

Too many people take to the roadways after consuming alcohol because they think they are “OK to drive.” During the holiday season, festive parties and celebrations with alcohol contribute significantly to the number of impaired drivers on our roadways.

Although Idaho drivers of all ages are involved in impaired-driving crashes, drivers aged 21 to 23 are involved in almost three times as many impaired-driving crashes as compared to all other drivers. In 2015, Idaho had 87 impaired-driving fatalities and 219 serious-injury crashes as a result of impaired driving.

“We want to keep our roads safe this holiday season and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober,” said John Tomlinson, ITD’s Office of Highway Safety manager. “Alcohol affects people differently, and you don’t have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive.”

Any consumption of alcohol can impair your judgment and reaction times, making it unsafe to drive. “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is a nationwide impaired-driving campaign to inform all Americans about the dangers of driving after drinking.

Drunk driving kills thousands of people in our country every year. In 2015, 35,092 people were killed in motor-vehicle crashes on our roadways, and 29 percent (10,265) died in crashes that involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08.

This time of year is especially dangerous. In December 2015 alone, 840 people were killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator.

“Drinking and driving should never mix, therefore we want everyone to plan a sober ride in advance if they will be celebrating the holidays with alcohol,” said Tomlinson. “Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic because you failed to plan ahead.”

This holiday season, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho State Police and local law enforcement agencies urge you to designate a sober driver before you start drinking. If you plan on drinking at all, plan not to drive.

Remember these tips to avoid a DUI and to keep our roads safe:

• Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase your risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or causing a crash.

• If you will be drinking, plan on not driving. Plan ahead: designate a sober driver before the party begins.

• If you have been drinking, do not drive – even a short distance. Call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, use Uber or Lyft or public transportation. Also try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.

• Help others be responsible. If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and take them home, or help them arrange a safe ride home.

• If you see a driver on the road that appears to be intoxicated, pull over and dial *ISP to contact police when it is safe to do so. Your actions could help save a life.

Remember to play it safe this holiday season, and always plan your sober ride before the festivities begin. If you are drinking, do not drive. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

For more information about Idaho impaired driving crashes, visit http://apps.itd.idaho.gov/apps/ohs/Crash/15/2015Impaired.pdf

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