Plan for a Sober Ride This Halloween Share the Message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving
This Halloween, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with Greene County Public Health’s Safe Communities Coalition to remind everyone that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween, as more pedestrians are out at night on the hunt for candy and more drivers are heading to and from parties. If your evening includes heading out to a party or festivity, make sure you plan for a sober ride home. If you’re the designated driver, honor that commitment for yourself, your passengers, and the other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Remember: It’s never safe to drink and drive.
For most, Halloween is a night to get creative with costumes, trick-or-treat, and enjoy the seasonal festivities. Unfortunately, for some families, the evening has become a nightmare. Between 2017 and 2021, there were 159 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31 – 5:59 a.m. November 1). Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (55%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2021. That same night, 17 pedestrians were killed. Whether they were the victims of a drunk-driving crash or walking drunk themselves, one point is critical to remember: Thousands of pedestrians will be trick-or-treating. Be vigilant when driving.
“No matter what your Halloween festivities include, make sure your party plans account for a sober ride home if you’ll be out drinking,” said Loressa Gonyer, Coordinator for Greene County Safe Communities Coalition. “We want our community to have a fun Halloween but, more importantly, a safe Halloween. If you choose to drink alcohol, drink responsibly — even one drink can impair judgement. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”
NHTSA data shows that 13,384 motor vehicle crash-related deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers in 2021. This represented 31% of all traffic fatalities in the United States for the year, and a 14.2% increase from 2020. Do not contribute to these senseless deaths by driving drunk this Halloween. Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians — whether they be children trick-or-treating or adults who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to their surroundings could put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.
“Thousands of families and children will be out on Halloween night,” said Gonyer. “We expect drivers to refrain from driving after drinking on Halloween night and every single day. Let’s work together to keep our community safe,” she said.
Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL. And the costs can be financial, too: If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, car towing, higher insurance rates, and lost wages.
No one should mix drinking and driving, and no one is immune to the effects of drunk driving. If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get in the vehicle with a drunk driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive drunk, take away their keys and help them get home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone — you might be saving their life, or someone else’s. Always have a plan before you head out for the evening. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you’re already too impaired to make the right choices.
There are plenty of options to help impaired drivers get home safely, such as designating a sober driver or calling a taxi or rideshare. If you see a drunk driver on the road, do not hesitate to contact 1-800- GRAB-DUI or *DUI.
Always remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/riskydriving/drunk-driving.