Richland Public Health warns against impaired driving


Richland County, Ohio —The holiday season is right around the corner. As Americans prepare for festivities with family and friends, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to remind all drivers that it’s dangerous to drive after drinking.

Drivers who have only have a little bit to drink and think they are “okay to drive,” could still be over the legal limit, because ‘Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving’.

Reed Richmond, Health Educator at Richland Public Health and a Richland County Safe Communities Coalition spokesperson, 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 time and again, drivers who may have only had a couple of drinks put themselves and others at serious risk. 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 Richland County drivers to understand that you don’t have to be falling-down drunk to be impaired to drive,” Richmond said. That’s why all Richland County law enforcement is working with NHTSA to spread the message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

This anti-drunk-driving campaign aims to inform all Americans about the dangers of driving after drinking—even after drinking moderately.

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, 31 percent of all crash fatalities in America involved drunk driving.

So this holiday season, NHTSA urges you to plan ahead: designate a sober driver. If you plan on drinking at all, don’t plan on driving. Don’t assume that you’ll know whether you can safely drive or not at the end of the night.

The Richland County Safe Communities Coalition asks Richland County drivers to please remember these tips to avoid a DUI and keep 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; designate a sober driver before the party begins. When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.

If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

Try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up.

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.

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