by Ask Patty Staff
The Labor Day holiday weekend, traditionally the end of summer vacation, is one of the deadliest periods for drinking and driving, according to a study by the Automobile Club of Southern California. The end of summer means celebration and one last chance to kick back and have fun before school starts and the weather cools down.
Drinking and driving becomes a large problem during the summer months, but especially during Labor Day weekend. One study in the state of Ohio "shows that one in every three traffic deaths between 2001 and 2005 was alcohol related." That same study also showed that "in the past five years, the Labor Day weekend has seen more people killed than any other holiday."
Here are some other scary statistics:
• Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injure someone every two minutes (NHTSA 2005).
• More than two-thirds of child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-related crashes during 1997–2002 were riding with the drinking driver; only 32% of them were properly restrained at the time of the crash (CDC).
• About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives (NHTSA, 2000)
When you are having fun with friends and family it is easy to forget your limits when it comes to alcohol. Make sure you are aware of how much alcohol you are consuming and watch out for your friends and loved ones as well. If you aren’t sure just how many you can have before being too impaired to drive, check out this handy chart showing blood alcohol levels (BAC).
course, if you should have too many drinks while enjoying those last
days of summer, be sure to have a designated driver plan. Before you
head off to parties or plan to have a few drinks with friends, why not
make a plan to take turns on who is going to be the DD that night?
Since you will have it figured out ahead of time, you won't have to
worry about getting home safely. However, if you come to the end of the
celebration and don’t have an already-decided DD, depending on where
you live there are some options for you.
AAA has a "Tipsy Tow" service available in certain states. It’s a free service to the public during the Labor Day holiday. All you have to do is call the toll-free number to request service. AAA will dispatch a tow truck to your location and drive you (your vehicle is towed) home for free for up to 10 miles. They will only take you home and not to another bar, so make sure you are calling for the right reason. You don’t have to be a member of AAA to use this service. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP or visit AAA’s website.
There are other groups in certain cities that offer free designated drivers during the evening hours. The Designated Drivers Association, currently located in San Diego, will pick you and take you home with no questions asked. The DDA is made up of volunteers who will drive you home in your own vehicle and service is free for up to 15 miles.
This Labor Day weekend be sure to have fun and enjoy the last days of summer, but take those extra steps to secure your own safety and the safety of your loved ones.
Ask Patty wishes everyone a fun and safe holiday!