Designate a driver if imbibing holiday cheer this season
It’s easy to lose track of those toddy refills when reveling in the holiday spirit, so Drive Smart Virginia is urging people to “Designate Before You Celebrate” this season.
Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. is a founding partner of DSV, which is urging motorists to plan for a safe ride home if there is even a possibility of consuming alcohol.
“With just a few drinks you could be too impaired to safely drive,” said David Tenembaum, VFBMIC actuarial manager and DSV treasurer. “If you choose a designated driver before you’ve had too much to drink, you can have a good time and get home safely. Choosing a designated driver could be one of the most important decisions you make.”
According to 2019 DSV statistics, there were 7,591 alcohol-related crashes, in which 4,402 people were injured and 264 died in the commonwealth last year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that U.S. adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times in 2010. In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. These drivers had blood-alcohol concentrations of at least 0.08%—the legal limit. However, impairment due to alcohol use begins to occur at levels well below that limit.
In addition to designating a responsible driver, the CDC offers additional tips to arrive home safely in case of overindulgence: Use ride-share services, prevent friends from driving if they’ve been drinking, insist all passengers wear a seat belt, and talk with a health professional if drinking becomes a problem.
“If you’re getting behind the wheel, avoid impairment, including alcohol, recreational and prescription drugs and fatigue,” said Alex Epstein, director of traffic safety at the National Safety Council. “Skip the indulgence, get some rest, stay a while or let someone else drive.”
DSV is a nonprofit organization founded on the principle that traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable. For more information visit DriveSmartVa.org.