December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Because numbers of fatalities spike during the holiday season, more police are patroling the roads and setting up checkpoints to help keep drivers safe and, for those who decide to drink and drive, accountable. Bellingham is no exception, and will have extra patrols out for the holidays as well as enforcing the Move Over Law.
What's a holiday reveler to do? There are so many ways to avoid drinking and driving, and modern technology makes it even easier. Gone are the days of searching pockets for a quarter to dial the payphone. Now we have cellphone apps, like this Rules of the Road article describes, to help us figure out how to get home without killing anyone. Also, Uber has come to Bellingham and Whatcom County, which is an easy way to get a cheap ride anywhere. Crashing on a friend's couch or designating a sober partier are good old fashioned ways to avoid one of the most lethal things one can do behind the wheel.
MADD offers some good tips for trying to reason with a drunk person and prevent drunk driving before it's about to happen:
- Be as non-confrontational as possible.
- Suggest alternate ways of getting to their destination — a cab, a sober driver, public transportation.
- Remember that the person you are talking to is impaired — talk a bit more slowly and explain things more fully than if you were speaking to a sober person.
- Explain that you don’t want them to drive because you care and you don’t want them to hurt themselves or others.
- Suggest that they sleep over.
- Enlist a friend to help you or to act as moral support — it’s more difficult to say “no” to two (or three or four) people than one.
- If possible, get the person’s keys. It is far easier to persuade the potential driver when you hold this leverage.
- If all else fails, call law enforcement. It’s better to have a friend arrested than injured or killed.
Here's another reason to avoid getting a DUI: How much does a DUI cost?
Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season, everyone.