Drunk driving is never a good idea, and it rarely has a positive outcome. Drinking alcohol impairs judgment and delays your cognitive abilities, so adding driving to the equation is a recipe for disaster. Not only do you put yourself at risk, you put others at risk as well. Even though it seems like a no brainer to avoid drinking and driving, it continues to happen across the United States every single day.
Let’s Talk Numbers
Over 1.5 million people are arrested every year for DUI’s in the US. Just last year Pennsylvania saw a total of 19,518 DUI arrests. And over the last decade there was a whopping 53, 721 DUI arrests in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city. But sadly, for some people DUI arrests are not a threatening enough consequence to stop people from hopping behind the while again after a night of drinking. What people fail to realize is that deciding to drink and driving can not only land you in jail, but it can also land you and others involved in the hospital or worse – the morgue.
2016 was said to be one of the worst years ever for drunk driving deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is an average of 30 people dying per day from a DUI-related accident. And unfortunately, about 10% of these fatalities were non-drinking drivers, passengers or innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 10,256 drunk driving-related crashes in 2016. Of those, 297 of them were fatal.
The Good News
Alcohol-related crashes and fatalities in Pennsylvania have been trending downward since 2011. Companies like Lyft and Budweiser have been a part of that change, even teaming up last year to reduce drunk driving by distributing over 80,000 free ride vouchers to Lyft users. To keep the momentum going this year, Budweiser’s new campaign “Give a Damn. Don’t Drive Drunk.” is providing Lyft users with $20 round-trip rides credits to use during weekends and holidays across 10 states, including Pennsylvania.
So, How Can You Help?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a multimillion-dollar company to make a difference. You too can help reduce drunk driving by taking the following precautions:
- Before drinking, always choose a designated driver, whether it be a non-drinking friend, taxi or calling a rideshare service like Lyft and Uber
- Don’t let your loved one’s drive after drinking – offer to drive, take their keys away, or help them find a safe ride home
- If you’re attending a special event somewhere and plan to drink, book a hotel or make arrangements to sleep over
- Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking
- Always buckle-up (to protect against drunk drivers on the road)
- Report drunk drivers on the road if you suspect one
And most importantly, don’t drink and drive! Educate yourself and others on the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. The Pennsylvania State Police even offer free workshops or schools, community organizations, and businesses to raise awareness about drunk driving.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so taking the necessary precautions to avoid drunk driving can avoid jail time, injuries and death.