Plan a Sober Ride This Holiday Season

By TRAVIS WELSH

This holiday season, The Missoula Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind all drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving. With the holiday festivities and office parties taking place, it’s essential to plan a sober ride home while planning for the event. This holiday, as you head out for a night of merrymaking, remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. The NHTSA campaign will run from December 13th 2017, through January 1st, 2018.

“The holidays should be a time for celebrations and for making memories, not a time of nightmares for families,” said Sergeant Greg Amundsen. “Unfortunately, alcohol at many holiday events contributes to the number of impaired drivers on our roadways. Help us spread the message: Even one drink is one drink too many. If you feel buzzed, you are already drunk.”

According to NHTSA, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2016, and 28 percent (10,497) of those fatalities occurred in crashes during which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08. The holidays prove to be extra dangerous to drivers as more people—drivers and pedestrians alike—are out on theroads.

“We want to keep our roads safe this holiday season and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober,” said Sergeant Greg Amundsen.  “Alcohol affects people differently, and you do not have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive.”

Drinking and driving should never be combined. It’s essential to plan a sober ride in advance if your holiday celebration will include alcohol. The alternative could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, or of other pedestrians or drivers and passengers nearby.

This holiday season, the Missoula police Department, Montana Highway Patrol, Missoula County Sheriff’s Department and NHTSA urge drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving.  All three department will be putting out extra patrols this holiday season, focused on impaired driving.

Remember these tips for a safe night on the roads:

  • First: Plan ahead. You know whether you’ll attend a party. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously—your friends are relying on you.
  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve only had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.
  • Missoula’s safe ride options include Yellow Cab, Green Taxi, Mountain Line (last route is 9:50 P.M.) or UBER ride service.
  • Use your community’s sober ride program, Home Free Missoula.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact 911 to report them.
  • See someone who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone—they’ll thank you later.

Remember to play it safe this holiday season and always plan your sober ride before the festivities begin. If you are buzzed, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.