XENIA — This holiday season, the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition and Greene County Public Health are teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind all drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving.

With the holiday festivities and extra office parties taking place, it’s essential to plan a sober ride home before ever leaving for the event. This holiday, officials are sharing this message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. The NHTSA campaign runs now through Tuesday, Dec. 12.

“The holidays should be a time for celebrations and for making memories, not a time of nightmares for families,” said Lt. Matt Schmenk, OSP Xenia Post.

“Unfortunately, alcohol at many holiday events contributes to the number of impaired drivers on our roadways. Help us spread the message: Even one drink is one drink too many. If you feel buzzed, you are already drunk.”

According to NHTSA, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2016, and 28 percent (10,497) of those fatalities occurred in crashes during which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08. The holidays prove to be extra dangerous to drivers as more people — drivers and pedestrians alike — are out on the roads.

“We want to keep our roads safe this holiday season and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober,” said Jillian Drew, Safe Communities Coordinator at Greene County Public Health. “Alcohol affects people differently, and you do not have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive.”

Drinking and driving should never be combined. It’s essential to plan a sober ride in advance if the holiday celebration will include alcohol. The alternative could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, or of other pedestrians or drivers and passengers nearby.

This holiday season, Greene County Safe Communities, Greene County Public Health, and NHTSA urgedrivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening.

Officials ask citizens to remember these tips for a safe night on the roads:

• First: Plan ahead. You know whether you’ll attend a party. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously — your friends are relying on you.

• Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve only had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.

• Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.

• If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement for your jurisdiction.

• See someone who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone—they’ll thank you later.

Remember to play it safe this holiday season and always plan your sober ride before the festivities begin. If you are buzzed, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

For more information on the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, call Jillian Drew at 937-374-5683 or email her at [email protected].

News-Current Report

Story courtesy of Greene County Public Health.