If you Celebrate, Stay Safe this Cinco de Mayo

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges everyone to be extra careful this weekend as some folks like to celebrate “Cinco de Mayo” and that can often lead to “buzzed driving” which is in reality “drunk driving”.

We wanted to join NHTSA in reminding everyone that not only is it illegal to drink and drive, but the consequences can be disastrous, turning a fun celebration into a devastating night.

Sobering Facts from NHTSA:

  • Cinco08_Jail_72dpiFrom 2007 to 2011, 38 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities that occurred each year around May 5th involved alcohol-impaired drivers or motorcycle operators with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 and above, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • During the 2011 Cinco de Mayo holiday alone, 35 percent of motor vehicle fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 and above. And unfortunately, 80 percent of the alcohol impaired fatalities involved a driver or motorcycle operator with nearly twice the legal limit of .15.
  • Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.  Law enforcement officers will be on high alert for drunk drivers during the Cinco de Mayo time period.
  • In 2011, more than 32,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States. Of those fatalities, 31 percent involved a driver or motorcycle operator that was alcohol-impaired.

  • Death and injuries are not the only consequences from impaired driving. Violators often face jail time, loss of their driver’s license and it could cost up to $10,000 in legal fees, fines, and result in higher insurance rates.

Tips from NHTSA — Plan Ahead to See Seis de Mayo:

  • If your Cinco de Mayo celebration includes alcohol, make a plan before the festivities begin to ensure you arrive home safely.
  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins.
  • If you’ve been drinking, never get behind the wheel. Use public transportation, call a cab or someone who can drive you
  • 230x150-mayo5If you know someone who is about to drive or ride with an impaired driver, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement—you could save a life.
  • By planning ahead, you will make sure you and others live to see, and enjoy, Seis de Mayo.

Pass the chips. Pass the tortillas. Pass your keys to a #DesignatedDriver before you start drinking. #CincodeMayo 

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Enforcement Campaign

Message from NHTSA: “Drinking and Driving This Holiday Season Could Lead to a Gift of Time…Behind Bars

As you celebrate the holiday season enjoying traditions, food, family and fun, be reminded that Local Law Enforcement Teams will be out in force this holiday season from December 16, 2011, to January 2, 2012, to arrest anyone caught driving drunk behind the wheel.

The message is simple, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.  Drinking alcohol and driving do not mix.  If you plan to consume alcohol, you should also plan not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle or ride a motorcycle.  

Unfortunately millions of drivers on America’s highways still think they are invincible, and they choose to jeopardize their safety and the safety of others on our roads:

  • Alcohol-impaired driving is a deadly crime that is especially common among young males 21 to 34 years old.
  • During the holiday season, many adults celebrate and enjoy themselves with a couple of drinks, but even one too many increases the risk of a crash while driving a motor vehicle.  
  • During December 2009, there were 753 people killed in traffic crashes that involved drivers or motorcycle riders with blood alcohol concentrations  of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.

There will be no spreading holiday cheer behind the bars of a jail cell.  Don’t let your 2011 holiday season end in an arrest or worse, death.  Also, consider these costs:

  • Not only do you risk killing or injuring yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be significant.
  • Drunk driving violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work.
  • Don’t let your 2011 end with an arrest.  Plan before you go out, and remember, whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s just not worth the risk.
  • Refusing to take a sobriety test in many jurisdictions may result in the loss of your license on the spot and enhanced penalties, not to mention that having to inform family, friends, and your employer that you lost your license will add to your embarrassment and humiliation.

Remember, whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk. 

You may want to consider these simple tips for a safe holiday season:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home;
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
  • Identify and be ready to use/recommend any available community sober ride programs;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement; and
  • Remember, Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take that person’s keys and help him or her make other arrangements to get home safely.

Even if you don’t plan on drinking (at all), your friends may, and you can help them realize the risks before it’s too late.  Don’t be bashful in sharing this information around your social network!

SafetyFirst would like to thank NHTSA for providing these talking points and reminders that traffic safety is EVERYONE’s responsibility — not just the “other guy”.