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Drunk Driving Prevention: On Personal Responsibility

Posted on Jul 9, 2018 in DUI/DWI, Local Issues, NOPD, Traffic, Uncategorized

Remember that old TV ad? Two pints of beer move slowly towards one another from either side of the screen. They meet in the middle, but instead of a celebratory toast, there’s a great collision, an explosion of glass and alcohol. A severe, admonishing voice says, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” The image is a striking one to say the least. Simple, yet effective. It has stuck in my mind for many years. Drunk driving is a serious issue, across the whole country. In 2016, 28% of all traffic fatalities involved alcohol impairment, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That amounts to over 10,000 individual fatalities. The FBI reports that over one million people were arrested for impaired driving in 2015. The numbers show: this is a serious epidemic in our country. Preventative measures range from increased law enforcement, to volunteer organizations like MAAD., to ad campaigns like the one above or Louisiana’s own “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” But what is our responsibility as individuals, to those around us and all our fellow citizens?

Friends don’t let friends

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” says the paternal voice on the commercial as a hand rises from the bottom of the screen, blocking the two drinks that are about to crash together. If you know someone who has been drinking or is visibly impaired, and they are about to drive, you have a personal responsibility to intervene. It is your responsibility not just as a friend or family member, but as a member of your community. A drunk driver getting behind the wheel does not only endanger themself, but the lives of others as well. You could be the one to make a difference and save lives. In the Era of Apps, preventing drunk driving is more accessible than ever before. With a few taps on a screen, you can order a Uber or Lyft to get your drunk friend home safely. Bonus points: they’re buying the rounds next time. "But I’m a good drunk driver.” “It’s right around the corner.” “I’ve done it a million times.” We've all heard the excuses. Don’t let your friends try to reason with you. Put your foot down, and tell them how important it is to you. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve gotten away with it. It only takes that one time that you don’t for everything to change. If you have a friend or loved one who frequently drives drunk, talk to them about it. Confront them, tell them about the stats. Do it sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

What about strangers?

What about if you don’t know the person? Say you’re out at a bar or a party and you see someone impaired preparing to drive. You still have a responsibility. Ignoring drunk driving is comparable to ignoring someone on the street getting robbed or yelling for help—in both situations lives at are stake. When dealing with someone you don’t know, however, you should always make sure to protect yourself. Always err on the side of caution—individuals under the influence can become aggressive or belligerent. Best practice is to try to locate the drunk person’s friends, or the people they came with. They will be able to deal with and get through to the person more effectively than you will. If the person is alone, or if it turns out that the friends are just as inebriated, you can alert the bartender or party host to the situation. Remember, even when trying to do the right thing, always protect yourself.

On the road

What happens when you’re driving and you witness another motorist acting erratically or potentially driving while impaired? The time for reasoning and prevention are gone, and your responsibility is at an all-time high. An impaired person driving a motor vehicle is quite literally wielding a deadly weapon. If you have an opportunity to prevent potential injury or death you should take it.  If possible, take note of the other driver’s license plate, the model and color of their car, which direction they’re heading, and any other relevant or identifying information, and report it to the police. It’s imperative to protect yourself in this situation as well. Keep a safe distance between you and the other driver and do not follow too close. As soon as you are able, move away from the other driver. Before you call the police, pull onto the side of the road.

Has you or someone you know been arrested for drunk driving?

At Bloom Legal, we pride ourselves on being New Orleans premiere DUI attorneys. Though we do not encourage drunk driving, we understand that there are times when your better judgement doesn’t always win out. If you or someone you know has been arrested for drunk driving, Bloom Legal is here to help. We have the experience and know-how to represent you from the beginning of your case to the end. We will fight for you, so that you can move forward with your life. Contact us today with questions or to set up a consultation.  

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