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Buzzed driving is drunk driving: Tips for driving safely during the holidays

By John Singleton on December 23, 2013

No one supports drunk driving, but bars, restaurants, and holiday parties that serve alcohol have parking areas. Unless you abstain from alcohol or drink only at home, you or a loved one could be at-risk for driving while impaired or from other drunk drivers, particularly during the holidays.

Consider these sobering statistics: In December, an average of 25 people a day die in drunk driving crashes. That means approximately 775 people won’t make it home for the holidays. In December, 60 percent of fatal crashes between midnight and 3 a.m. involve a drunk driver. That’s why from Dec. 13, 2013, through Jan. 1, 2014, state and local law enforcement will be out in force cracking down on drunk drivers.

And of course there are other consequences of driving impaired:

  • Driving while impaired is a crime that seriously risks your safety and the safety of those around you. Whether you’ve had one too many or are way over the limit, drunk driving is not worth causing a traffic crash, serious injury, or death.
  • The legal and financial costs of driving while impaired can be significant. Drunk-driving violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s licenses, higher insurance rates, and unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work.
  • Refusing to take a breath test in Virginia may result in the loss of your driver’s license on the spot and the impoundment of your vehicle.

At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we offer these simple tips to help you avoid driving while impaired 100 percent of the time:

1. Designate an iron-clad sober driver.

The only completely safe approach is for your designated driver not to drink at all. Even one drink can impair a driver.

In Virginia and throughout the United States, it is illegal to drive with blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent. However, for a 120-pound woman, just one small 5 oz. glass of wine can result in blood alcohol content of 0.04, which can significantly affect driving and possibly result in criminal penalties. For a man of 180 pounds, just two 12-oz. beers can result in 0.04 blood alcohol content with similar results.

Keep in mind that one drink is considered 1.25 oz. of 80-proof liquor, a 12-oz. beer, or a 5-oz. glass of table wine. And any amount of alcohol can be risky if not accompanied with food.

2. Use a local driver or taxi service.

Using a local driver or taxi can be an enjoyable and reasonably priced way to ensure that everyone in your party has a safe and carefree night out.

In Gloucester and surrounding areas, try “Get U there Designated Driver” Sammy Larrimore, phone (804) 815-1669. His rates are reasonable at $15 to $20 per hour.

Another local option is Frank Butler at Metrotec Taxi in Mathews, (804) 695-4556. He offers a car and driver for an evening in Gloucester, Mathews, or Middlesex for $100. Call for rates for shorter times and distances.

Apollo Taxi in Newport News, (757) 337-0547 charges $20 to come to the Middle Peninsula, plus $2.75 at the start and $2.10 per mile. Apollo also offers a rate of $18/hour for a driver and car for the evening, plus applicable fees and mileage.

If you live outside the Middle Peninsula, use this convenient guide to find a reasonable designated driver service near you: www.drinkinganddriving.org

3. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Offer to drive them or call a taxi or driver for them.

4. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement immediately. Your actions could save a life. Do not try to pass a drunk driver. Try to stay as far back form the driver as possible and call 911.

Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving. We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys wish you safe and happy holidays.

Source for statistics: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.