Driving under the influence is illegal in every state, yet it continues to be a costly and heartbreaking problem throughout the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 10,265 fatalities due to drunk driving crashes in 2015. With so many causalities, let’s review some easy ways to help prevent people from driving under the influence so we can all enjoy safer roads.
How to Stop a Friend from Driving Under the Influence
Preventing a friend, coworker, family member or associate from driving drunk can be a tricky situation. A person under the influence of alcohol is less likely to make reasonable choices. You have to step up to be their voice of reason, which can be a challenging task.
Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving encourage people who expect to consume alcohol to develop a plan for getting home ahead of time.
Here are some other ways to help prevent someone from drinking and driving:
1. Be a Designated Driver. If you and friends plan to go out for the night, volunteer to be the designated driver. Pick everyone up or get everyone’s keys in advance — this way no one will be tempted to get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.
2. Plan Ahead. This may seem like a no-brainer, but make a pact with your friends to never let each other drink and drive. If they have to leave their vehicle somewhere, make a promise to drive them back to their car in the morning.
3. Pay for a Ride. Suggest other ways for the impaired person to get home – and offer to pay. Ridesharing apps, like Uber and Lyft, make it easier than ever to request a ride for yourself or a friend. Calling a taxi or using public transportation are great options as well.
4. Stay Persistent. Remember that the person you are trying to help is not thinking clearly. Be casual and non-confrontational, but insist that they find another way home.
5. Let them Sleep Over. Offer your couch for them to sleep it off. If the festivities took place at your home, invite them to sleep over on the couch or in the spare bedroom.
6. Get Help. Conspire with other friends to prevent an intoxicated friend from driving home. Enlist one friend or several. It is harder to say “No” when everyone is suggesting the same thing.
7. Stand Firm. Remind the driver that you care about them, their safety and their wallet. Tell them you would never forgive yourself if something happened to them on the way home. Remind them of the harsh financial costs of getting a DUI and the devastating emotional costs of causing a fatal accident.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”
It can be challenging to convince drivers that they are likely to get pulled over if they drink and drive. NHTSA’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign aims to make drivers aware of the real possibility that drinking and driving could lead to their arrest.
Another factor that could reduce drunk driving in the future is new technology being developed by NHTSA and auto makers. Called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), this technology would prevent a car from operating if a driver’s blood alcohol level is above the legal limit, and be available as an option on new vehicles.
With so many hazards on the road, stay safe by choosing not to drive under the influence, and help your friends or family members make the same choice.