DR. KESTNER: Friends don’t let friends drink and drive

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Are you willing to help stop drunk driving?

See how you do on this quiz.

Take out a piece of paper and number one through 10. Ready?

Mark each of the following statements True or False.

1. Driving while impaired is against the law.

2. Being arrested for drunk driving costs an average of several thousand dollars in fines, court costs, insurance charges, attorney fees and lost wages.

3. Being impaired even though not legally drunk results in increased risk of accidents.

4. A person’s body weight and other factors such as fatigue and medications affect how much alcohol is required to become impaired.

5. Drivers aged 21 to 24 years old are more likely to be involved with alcohol-related fatalities than other age groups.

6. Police are stepping up enforcement of driving under the influence laws in Tennessee.

7. Even one arrest for drunk driving can have a profoundly negative effect on a driver’s employment status, family relationships, business relations and friendships.

8. Most drunk drivers involved with fatal accidents were observed to be impaired by friends prior to getting behind the wheel. (The accident could have been prevented had a friend intervened.)

9. If you see a friend or relative becoming intoxicated and know they will soon be driving, you have an obligation to prevent them from driving.

10. Working together, we can reduce the number of people killed or injured this year as a result of drunk or impaired driving.

Hopefully, you marked each answer “True.”

There is some good news to report about drunk driving.

The number of fatalities has fallen a little in recent years.

This can be attributed to several factors.

Law enforcement is being more diligent in their lookout for drunk drivers.

People are reporting drunk driving more often.

The universal presence of cell phones makes it easy to dial 9-1-1 and report a drunk driver.

Across the board, people are less tolerant of those that drive while they are impaired.

At holiday parties where alcohol will be served, some hosts ask for the keys of guests and only return the keys if they feel the guest is sober enough to drive. While imprecise in determining actual levels of impairment, this step is at least a positive commitment to help reduce the number of funerals that will be held this year.

Many people are misinformed about what is considered impaired driving.

Depending upon your weight, how much food you consume and whether you are taking medications, it is possible for many individuals to reach the legal limit of blood alcohol content after as few as two drinks.

For most individuals, having three drinks can possibly put them over the legal limit.

That means if your friend has had three or more drinks, or is behaving in a way to make you think they might be impaired, it may be time for you to help find an alternative way for them to get home.

It is not necessary for a driver to qualify as being legally drunk to be impaired.

Even if a driver isn’t legally drunk, if they are involved in an accident the fact  they have some level of blood alcohol will be a factor in liability.

Drinking impairs judgment. That is why so many “good people” make the mistake of driving when they are impaired.

Impaired drivers often mistakenly think that they are perfectly capable of handling a vehicle normally. Unfortunately, for many families that lose loved ones each year, they are wrong.

Drivers who are impaired are often not likely to make the right decision on their own.

It may be up to you to determine that they are not safe to drive and aid them in finding another option.

Drunk driving is a serious crime that takes the lives of innocent people and affects thousands of families each year.

Being proactive to stop the crime from happening is very effective.

It may even be up to you to call police if someone you know refuses to stay off the roads after drinking too much.

Help by doing your part to keep others safe this year.

Next week: a Christmas story.
Read more from:
DUI, Mark Kestner, Voices
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