The holiday season is here and the festivities are underway with family, friends and co-workers. The Colorado Springs Police Department and our traffic safety partners, DRIVE SMART COLORADO, would like to remind all drivers that it is dangerous to drive after drinking. You have to choose your role before drinking begins: will you drink or will you drive? Remember, even if you only have a little bit to drink and think you’re “okay to drive,” you could still be over the legal limit, because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
Lt. S. Schwall explained the slogan: “A lot of folks think they know their own limits. They think that if they’re just a little ‘buzzed,’ then they’re still good to drive.” But according to the 29-year veteran of the Colorado Springs Police Department, this couldn’t be further from the truth. “Time and again, drivers who may have only had a couple of drinks put themselves and others at serious risk,” Lt. Schwall added. “Driving with any alcohol in your system can be dangerous.”
For some people, it doesn’t take much to reach the dangerous level. “We really want all drivers to understand that you don’t have to be falling-down drunk to be an impaired driver,” said Maile Gray, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART COLORADO. Gray added, “That’s why law enforcement is working to spread the message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”
This anti-drunk-driving campaign aims to inform all drivers about the dangers of driving after drinking - even after drinking just a little. Drunk driving is a terrible killer on our nation’s roads. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. This time of year is especially dangerous due to holiday celebrations and frequent parties. In December 2013 alone, there were 733 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator. In 2013, a third (31 percent) of all crash fatalities in the United States involved drunk driving.
So this holiday season, please plan ahead: designate a sober driver. If you plan on drinking at all, don’t plan on driving. Don’t assume that you will know whether you can safely drive or not at the end of the night.
Drivers, please remember these tips to avoid a DUI and keep our roads safe:
• Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or having a crash.
• If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before the party begins.
• When you know you will be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to a sober driver.
• If you have been drinking, do not drive - even a short distance. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or contact a local designated driver program such as: 1) Fort Carson’s No DUI Response Team. Anyone who is a Department of Defense (DOD) ID card holder can call 719-526-5347 on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. and a volunteer will give you a free ride home; or 2) McDivitt Law Firm offers a Safe Ride Home Program on New Year’s Eve from 10:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. Just call a cab, and tell your cabdriver, “It’s on McDivitt” and they will drive you home.
• Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement when it is safe to do so.
• If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.
Remember, it is never okay to drive after drinking. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving!
For more information contact: DRIVE SMART COLORADO at 719-444-7534 or visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.