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Drive sober or get pulled over

A car being pulled over by police car.

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), America has more drunk drivers than most countries have people.

Not alarmed by that statistic? Nearly 10,000 people die on the road due to drunk driving each year (NHTSA). How about now?

Maybe once it hits closer to home, people will really see the impact. On average, one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime (NHTSA). That one person could be you or someone you care about.

When I was in school, a classmate drove home drunk from a party. Unfortunately, he didn't make it home, because he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree. I will never forget the following Monday morning at school—eerily quiet hallways, somber faces, and many people saying over and over again, "I should have taken his keys."

When I was in school, a classmate drove home drunk from a party. Unfortunately, he didn't make it home…

That's why it is so important to either use a designated driver. (A person that's completely sober and capable of driving everyone home safely.) OR Call for a taxi. Most cities have a taxi service that will run through the night. Find a reliable service and even call ahead to have them pick you up at a specific time.

So, if you plan on being at a party where others may be driving home after drinking too much, make sure you speak up. The NHTSA has 7 helpful tips and advice from focus group research on how to get the keys away from a drunk driver:

  • If it is a close friend, try and use a soft, calm approach at first. Suggest to them that they've had too much to drink and it would be better if someone else drove or if they took a cab.
  • Be calm. Joke about it. Make light of it.
  • Try to make it sound like you are doing them a favor.
  • If it is somebody you don't know well, speak to their friends and have them make an attempt to persuade them to hand over the keys. Usually they will listen.
  • If it's a good friend, spouse, or significant other, tell them that if they insist on driving, you are not going with them. Suggest that you will call someone else for a ride, take a cab, or walk.
  • Locate their keys while they are preoccupied and take them away. Most likely, they will think they've lost them and will be forced to find another mode of transportation.
  • If possible, avoid embarrassing the person or being confrontational. This makes them appear vulnerable to alcohol and its effects.

Be safe in your travels, especially during the upcoming holidays.

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