Drive Sober This Holiday Season

DATE AND TIME OF INCIDENT:  December 11, 2020 thru January 1, 2021   
NARRATIVE: This holiday season, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning to remind all drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving. Before traveling to holiday festivities or seasonal vacations, make sure you plan for a sober designated driver before enjoying an alcoholic beverage. This holiday season, and every day remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.  We want our community to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season. With more drivers on the roads during this busy time of year, it’s more important than ever for us to stress the importance of safe driving habits, said Sheriff L. Paul Bailey. We know everyone is rushing around, finishing those last minute errands and attending various holiday functions. But before you ever head out to the festivities, make sure you plan a sober ride home, because driving drunk should never be an option. Help us spread the message: Even one drink is one drink too many if you’re the driver. “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving”.  Between December 11, 2020 and January 1, 2021, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office will be partnering with numerous law enforcement agencies nationwide by increasing patrols while taking a zero-tolerance approach to drunk and drugged driving. The increased enforcement along with increased messages about the dangers of driving impaired, aim to drastically reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries on our roadways.  
According to NHTSA, 10,511 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2018. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2014 to 2018 – one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 50 minutes in 2018. This is why the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is working with NHTSA and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to the holiday festivities, help us spread the word: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.  
This holiday season, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, NHTSA, and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning urge drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving. Doing so could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, of pedestrians, or of other drivers and passengers nearby.  
If you’re the designated driver, make sure you keep your promise of safety to yourself and your passengers. Stay hydrated with water and other non-alcoholic beverages. Support other designated drivers too. It can be a long night, but people are counting on you, not to mention the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the streets. Take the role of designated driver seriously – people are relying on you.  
Party with a Plan  Before ever heading out, it’s vital to plan ahead. Be honest with yourself: You know whether you’ll be drinking or not. Follow these ides to ensure you and everyone else stays safe.   Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan for another safe ride home.   If you see a suspected drunk driver on the road, contact the Berrien County Public Safety Dispatch Center or your local law enforcement agency.   Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.  
Buzzed Driving: The Sobering Statistics  According to NHTSA, 839 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver in December 2018.  
 During the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2018 alone, there were more drunkdriving-related fatalities (285) than during any other holiday period that year.  
 Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah where it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .05 or higher.   
 Of the traffic fatalities in 2018 among children 14 and younger, 22% (231) occurred in alcoholimpaired-driving crashes. 
For more information about the Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaign, visit 

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