Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving this Holiday Season

Impaired driving by women is becoming a national safety issue. According to NHTSA research, in 2008 there was an increasing trend among women driving under the influence of alcohol. These increases occurred in certain parts of the nation and highlighted the number of alcohol-impaired female drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2008 compared to 2007. We know that the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be one of the deadliest and most dangerous times on America’s roadways due to an increase in drunk driving.
That is why during the month of December, The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is joining with hundreds of other state and local law enforcement and highway safety officials to get impaired drivers off of the roads, and remind motorists this holiday season that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
Impaired driving is an issue that cuts across all segments of society and, sadly, the number of arrests of women driving under the influence is on the rise. Whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk of killing yourself or someone else. Don’t ever get behind a wheel of a vehicle when you are impaired.
Following these easy steps, a driver can enjoy a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing their life and the lives of the others who may be on the road:
    • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
    • Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
    • If you’re impaired, call a sober friend or family member so you are sure to get home safely;
    • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement;
    • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
During the month of December 2008, 888 people were killed in crashes that involved a driver or motorcycle rider (operator) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. The consumption of alcohol, drugs and driving just don’t mix. This holiday season; don’t let your year end in an arrest—or even worse, death. The results from drinking and driving can end up deadly no matter how many drinks you’ve had.
For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.com or the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at www.vbsafecoalition.com.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Suggestions for Parents- Part 2

(Continued from last week)
When you’re away from home or out of town
  • Set and communicate rules and standards to be followed in your absence.
  • Do not allow underage youth to have unsupervised parties or gatherings.
  • Remind them of their responsibilities and the consequences of their actions.
  • Have a relative or responsible adult stay at your home during your absence, have your teenager stay with a responsible adult or ask a neighbor to watch the house and stop in while you are gone.
  • If you are concerned that your child might have a party anyway, you can call your local police and ask them to drive by at some point over the time you are gone. Make it a point to tell your child that you have asked the police to do this.
If your teen is attending a party

  • Know where your child will be. Call the parent in charge to verify the occasion and location of the party and ensure there will be adult supervision.

  • Ask how many teens are expected at the party and offer to help supervise or provide refreshments.

  • Make certain that the host will not be serving or allowing alcohol. Ask how they plan to handle the situation if a teen shows up with alcohol or has been drinking.

  • Indicate your expectations to your child and the parent hosting the party that if the teens leave and go somewhere else, you will want to know.

  • Set a curfew for your teen to be home and when they arrive home, have them check in with you.

  • Know how your child is getting to and from the party. Reinforce the message to your teenager that they should never allow someone who has been drinking or using other drugs to drive them anywhere.

  • Assure your child that they can telephone you to be picked up whenever needed.

  • If the activity seems inappropriate, express concern and keep your child home.

Other ideas

  • Get to know your children’s friends and their parents.
  • Find out their policy on alcohol, drug and tobacco use.
  • Remember, it is illegal to serve minors, or to knowingly allow a minor to have alcohol on your property.
  • Encourage alcohol-free and drug-free parties and activities for underage youth.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tips for Parents- Part1

If your teen is giving a party

· Help your teenager plan the party. Make a guest list and invite only a specific number of people.

Have your child pass out or send invitations and try to avoid the “open party” situation.

Don’t send e-mail invitations. They can be forwarded to a large number of people quickly and you lose control of who has this information.

Put your phone number on the invitation and welcome calls from parents.

Set rules ahead of time such as no alcohol, drugs or tobacco. Set a start and end time for the party.

Let attendees know that if they leave, they can’t come back.

Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Plan some activities such as music, games, movies, etc.

Let your neighbors know in advance there will be a party and that you will be there to supervise. Familiarize yourself with the noise ordinance in your area.

Limit the party access to a certain area of the house/property.

Have a plan for dealing with vehicles. Include parking information on your party invitation.

Call parents of any teen who arrives in possession of alcohol or under the influence. If you can’t get in touch with the parents, keep the teen there or call the police if necessary. You can be civilly liable if you know they have been drinking and you let them leave.

Secure all forms of alcohol, firearms and other potentially hazardous items in your home in a safe place.

Familiarize yourself with you community’s noise ordinances.

Make regular and unobtrusive visits to the party area with sensitivity to teens’ needs for privacy and independence.

Invite some other parents to help chaperone if there will be a large number of teenagers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December is Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

This December, during National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (3D Month), consider what you can do to make injuries and deaths from impaired driving less of a threat.
* According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.
* Every day, 36 people in the United States die, and approximately 700 more are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
* Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion a year.

During the holiday season, and year-round, take steps to make sure that you and everyone you celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol. Following these tips from NHTSA can help you stay safe:
· Plan ahead. Always designate a non-drinking driver before any holiday party or celebration begins.

· Take the keys. Do not let a friend drive if they are impaired.

· Be a helpful host. If you’re hosting a party this holiday season, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver, always offer alcohol-free beverages, and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.

Information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)