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March 12, 2010


Drink responsibly, use designated drivers

The Army Substance Abuse Program is urging the public to help keep the streets safe this St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday, March 17, and every day by drinking responsibly and designating a sober driver before heading to the local parade or pub.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show over the past five years, 851 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

Of that number, 327 were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver or motorcycle rider (operator) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
“St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a time to celebrate Irish heritage and gather with friends, but it can quickly end in tragedy due to impaired driving,” said Scott Zaehler, the Fort McCoy Alcohol and Drug Control Officer.

“If you plan on drinking, don’t rely on luck to keep you safe or to keep you out of trouble. Be responsible and take appropriate precautions.”

The Army Substance Abuse Program recommends the following tips:

• Plan a safe way home before your celebrations begin;

• If you plan to get a ride home with someone else, designate a sober driver before any drinking begins;

• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or Family member, or use public transportation 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 their motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

“Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is an extremely risky thing to do,” said Zaehler. “If you plan on using alcohol, plan ahead and look out for your friends too. Remember, friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”

According to NHTSA research, impaired driving remains one of America’s deadliest problems. In 2007, 41,059 people nationwide were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of that number, 12,998 people were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider (operator) with a BAC of .08 or higher.

To learn more in the Fort McCoy community, call 608-388-2441/5955 or visit the Army Substance Abuse Program Web site at http://pubssod1.acsap.hqda.pentagon.mil/sso/pages/index.jsp.

(Submitted by the Fort McCoy Army Substance Abuse Program.)

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