Nearly 30 people die each day in the U.S. because of a drunk driver. The statistics compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show other sobering facts about drunk driving. In 2013, 290,000 people were injured in an accident involving someone under the influence of alcohol. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, reports that three out of 10 people will be in a car accident involving alcohol in their lifetime.
Education and prevention are important in reducing the number of accidents on the highways due to drunk drivers. Agencies such as the CDC and MADD work to promote education to people of all ages through public service announcements and special initiatives. They also work with public policymakers to enact stronger laws to punish those who choose to get behind the wheel after drinking.
Here are some tips provided by MADD that can help you prevent cases of drinking and driving:
• Be responsible when drinking. As a parent, show your kids how to drink responsibly by never drinking and driving, and not drinking excessively in front of them.
• Have a designated driver when going out, or plan to call a cab or Uber. Get a ride to your destination even if you haven’t started drinking so you won’t be tempted to drive home because you don’t want to leave your car or you want to save money.
• Never get into the car with someone who has been drinking. Don’t think that you can keep an eye on them by riding with them. You can’t control how they will drive if you are a passenger or in the back seat. If you haven’t been drinking, offer to drive.
• If you’re a teenager and feel stuck in a situation where you can’t safely get a ride, call your parents. They would rather come get you than have you get into the car with a drunk driver.
• If you’re a parent, establish rules for your teens. Tell them you’ll give them a “no punishment” policy if they call you instead of getting into a car with someone who has been drinking. They’re more likely to call you if they aren't worried about getting into trouble for being around alcohol.
• When having a party in your home, plan to stop serving alcohol well before everyone goes home. Serve non-alcoholic beverages for those not drinking or those who want to switch before the night ends. Have food on hand all night as well.
• As the host, don’t drink excessively so that you can keep an eye on your guests. You’re more likely to let someone leave if you’re tipsy or buzzed because you can’t tell if they’re able to drive.
• If hosting, plan to call a cab for anyone who can’t drive themselves, or have a designated driver ready to give rides. Don’t be afraid to take someone’s keys. They may not like you at the time, but they will appreciate it in the morning.
• Offer your extra bedroom or couch if you have someone who shouldn't drive but doesn’t have an alternate way home.
• If you’re on the road and see someone driving erratically, weaving, making wide turns or driving on the wrong side of the road, call the police. Tell them your location, what you saw, and the make and model of the car. Give them the license plate if you were able to get it.
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Drinking can become a problem for anyone, at any age. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, we’re here to help. We offer outpatient therapy in a safe, caring environment. Our customized treatment plans meet the needs of the individual. Call us today at Legacy Freedom of Wilmington to talk about your treatment options.