Share the Message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving
[Ballston Spa, NY] — This Halloween, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies to remind everyone that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Drivers should be extra cautious this Halloween, as more pedestrians are out at night on the hunt for candy. If your night involves drinking, don’t let your drive home become a cautionary tale. It’s never safe to get behind the wheel after drinking. Designate a sober driver before the party and remember: It’s never safe to drink and drive.
With Halloween parties, trick-or-treating, and other festivities, Halloween night can pose as a substantial risk to drivers and pedestrians on our nation’s roads. Driving after drinking is deadly. Yet it continues to happen across the United States and within our community. If you drive while impaired, you could get arrested, or worse — be involved in a traffic crash that causes serious injury or death. Between 2016 and 2020, there were 129 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 (68%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2020. During that same night, 11 pedestrians were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Remember to not turn the scares into real life dangers by getting behind the wheel after drinking.
“If drinking is part of your Halloween celebration, make sure to include a designated driver as part of the festivities. Have a plan; call a sober friend, taxi, or a rideshare service to ensure you get home safely,” said District Attorney Karen Heggen. “Don’t get behind the wheel after drinking – even one drink can impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”
Tragically, about one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations at or above a .08). In 2020, there were 11,654 people killed in drunk-driving crashes. 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.
“We want to advocate for everyone in our community to have a safe and fun night out this Halloween,” said D.A. Heggen. “There is nothing more frightening than a drunk driver on Halloween, and we expect drivers to avoid driving after drinking, especially with the multitude of alternative ride options,” she said.
Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05. 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.
Celebrate with a Plan
If you plan to head out for a night of Halloween partying, follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver, call a taxi or a rideshare service to get home safely.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, dial 911 or contact the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office at (518) 885-6761.
- See a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely.
Always remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.