It’s New Year’s Eve weekend! With New Year’s Eve falling on a Sunday this year, many people will be celebrating all weekend long. And unfortunately, too many will drive after drinking alcohol or using drugs.
Drunk drivers pose a danger to themselves…and everyone else on the roads.
Helping friends get home safely after a night of partying can cause some awkward moments. The best strategy to reduce drunken driving is to plan ahead. However, there are also ways to handle the situation after the party is underway.
Advance Planning Can Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents
1. Designate a Sober Driver
This is an oldie but goodie. You know the saying: “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” Whenever you go out with friends, agree on one person who will not use drugs or alcohol and will be the driver for the night.
2. Hire a Driver
Living in the Los Angeles area means that we have access to many alternatives to driving ourselves. Taxi’s might seem old-fashioned to a younger crowd, but they are always reliable. Los Angeles has a variety of ride-sharing apps to choose from if that fits more with your style or budget. On New Year’s Eve, some services, bars and event venues have special options for getting a sober ride home. For example, LA Metro provides free bus and rail service from 9 pm until 2 am on New Year’s Eve this year.
3. Agree to Use a Breathalyzer
Before the evening begins, have everyone agree to pass a breathalyzer test before they are allowed to drive. You can even put all the keys into a small bag or pouch that has a keychain breathalyzer attached to the zipper or clasp.
Portable breathalyzers are readily available, reasonably priced (especially when compared to the price of a DUI!), and fairly reliable. Follow directions for using the breathalyzer; most models require you to wait 15-60 minutes after drinking alcohol before they will give an accurate reading. Also know that a breathalyzer does not work for substances such as marijuana or other drugs.
California’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving under the influence is 0.08%. However, a person’s driving can be impaired by alcohol even if their BAC is lower than 0.08%. If an officer stops you for erratic, unsafe or distracted driving, they can issue you a ticket regardless of your BAC.
Suggestions for Stopping Friends from Driving Drunk
Sometimes people drink alcohol and believe they are sober and therefore can drive. Other times, people drive even when they know they should not. While preventing someone who has been drinking from driving can be hard, it prevents car accidents.
Attorneys suggest the following strategies for preventing friends from driving after drinking.
4. If your friend insists he is sober and someone in your group has a portable breathalyzer, challenge him to “prove” he is sober by using the breathalyzer.
5. Talk firmly, calmly and in a non-confrontational way about your concerns. Use “I statements” and don’t say anything that he might interpret as blame or shame. Let the person know how much you care about him and why you don’t want him to drive.
6. If the person is at your house, invite your friend to stay the night. Before inviting him, make up a cozy place for him to sleep. Lead him to the couch or bed and act like you had planned all along for him to crash at your place.
7. Hide the person’s keys. Consider moving the car out of sight as well.
8. Gang up on the person. Peer pressure to not drive when drunk is powerful.
9. Use alternative transportation. Call the person a cab or a ride-share service or take the person home yourself if you are sober. Identify someone who will help the person retrieve his car in the morning.
10. Refuse to ride with a person who is not sober. Even if it means you have to pay for a cab or walk home.
11. If all else fails, call the police and give the license plate number and other info about the car. Try to do this while the person hears you, so she knows she will be pulled over if she drives. Preventing a drunk driving accident outweighs the possible repercussions for your friendship.
The car accident attorneys at Cerritos Legal offer a free consultation to car accident victims. Call today at 562-865-9356 for your no-obligation consultation.