For those making plans for Halloween, the Turlock Police Department is reminding people to include a sober driver.
“If you want to stay safe this Halloween then make a plan to get home without driving if you’ve been drinking. Even one drink impairs judgment, so plan to get home by taxi, ride share, mass transit, or designate a sober driver. Buzzed driving is drunk driving, so think ahead to stay safe,” said Chief Robert Jackson.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 43 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1 from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. On Halloween Night alone 119 people lost their lives over that same period. Children out trick-or-treating and the parents accompanying them are also at risk, as 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night (2009-2013) involved drunk drivers.
It is illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes with 867 of those in California alone along with 23,000 others seriously injured across the state. The fine for drunk driving is as much $10,000 for a DUI.
Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol. Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects.
Buzzed driving is drunk driving, so follow these simple tips to stay safe:
• Plan a safe way to get home before you attend the party. Alcohol impairs judgment, as well as reaction time. If you’re drunk you’re more like to choose to drive drunk.
• Designate a sober driver; take public transportation, a car service, or a call a sober friend of family member to get home.
• Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
• Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911.
• If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.
Turlock Police Department is partnering with officers from around the county and region as part of the County’s DUI taskforce. Funding for these special operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.