Many of our readers have probably seen the public service advertisements touting the message that "Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving." Of course, recognizing that someone has had too much to drink to drive safely may not be easy if they aren't showing signs of impairment such as slurring their words or stumbling.
Even if people question their ability to drive, they may assure others that they feel fine -- and they may well believe that they are. Even if folks only had one drink, if they haven't had anything to eat in awhile or if they're taking some kind of medication, that one drink can make them unsafe on the road.
During the holidays, the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program joined forces with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind people to make plans to get a sober ride home from any gathering. Of course, that's a message that needs to be out there all year long. In 2015, almost 30 percent of the people killed on our roads were involved in crashes where either a driver or motorcyclist was DUI according to the law.
It's easier than ever to help guarantee a sober ride home:
-- Designate a driver in your group (or one of you if you're going out as a couple) to remain sober throughout the evening.
-- Download and set up an Uber or Lyft app on your phone.
-- Call a cab.
-- Find out if the bar or restaurant you're going to has a courtesy service to drive you home.
-- Call a friend or family member.
Sadly, too many people find these things embarrassing. They don't want to admit that they may have had one too many -- especially if they think they're able to drive. Further, it can sometimes be difficult to tell friends or family members that you don't think they should drive or that you don't want to ride with them.
If you are injured or if a loved one is killed because he or she was in a vehicle or on a motorcycle with a driver who was found to be under the influence, you should explore your options for holding that person civilly liable in addition to any criminal charges he or she may be facing.
Source: The Tifton Gazette, "Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP) warns against buzzed driving," Stuart Taylor, Dec. 23, 2016