Arrive Alive on St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day may be associated with wearing green, the luck of the Irish, and eating Irish foods such as corned beef. But for many people in the U.S., St. Patrick’s Day is strictly a drinking holiday. While many bars and pubs go out of their way to make it special – even serving green beer – and it’s a lot of fun to party, there are dangers involved.
Especially for anyone who’s planning on driving home after having one too many.
The Dangers of Drinking and Driving
When alcohol is absorbed in the body, it starts to work as a depressant, slowing down the regular functions you use while driving. This is what makes drinking and driving so dangerous. The more drinks you consume, the more those functions start to slow down or just not work right. For example:
- Worse reaction time. When a car cuts in front of a driver who’s been drinking, that driver may not be able to brake or slow down as quickly, which can cause a rear-end collision. If a pedestrian crosses in front of a drunk driver, the driver may still not be able to slow down or stop in time, seriously injuring or even killing the pedestrian. There are many things a driver must react to on the road. And when you’ve been drinking, you react to them much more slowly, which puts you and others in harm’s way.
- Impaired vision. This can result in cars, pedestrians, and other objects on the road appearing blurry. When someone is driving drunk, his or her perception can also become skewed, making it difficult to determine how far away another vehicle is. This is why so many drunk drivers cross the center line – they can’t determine where it is!
- Difficulty concentrating. Because alcohol’s depressant also affects the brain, it can be harder to make rational decisions.
- Poor eye-and-hand, or eye-and-foot coordination. That can make it difficult for drunk drivers to properly maneuver the steering wheel. They may also step on the gas when they intended to step on the brake.
All of these side effects make drunk drivers very dangerous on the roads. In addition to ensuring that you never get behind the wheel after drinking, it’s also just as important to report drivers who are visibly impaired.
Reporting Drunk Drivers
When you see another driver swerving across lines, veering off the shoulder, or otherwise driving dangerously and suspects that driver to be drunk, it’s important to call 911. Tell the dispatcher what you saw and the location. They should send a police car to find the dangerous driver and get him or her off the road.
There’s another thing you can and should report to the Arizona Department of Transportation. When you know someone who has a condition that prevents him or her from driving safely, fill out and submit a Driver Condition/Behavior Report. If your family member or friend is taking medication that has the same depressant effects of alcohol, please make a report. Physicians and law enforcement officials often fill out and submit these forms to flag dangerous drivers, but concerned citizens can also fill them out when they have specific concerns.
Arrive Alive and Win a Scholarship!
Almost everyone knows how important it is not to drink and drive, which is why it’s baffling to us at Breyer Law Offices, P.C., that so many people continue to do it. For this reason, we’re spreading that message through our Arizona community by offering $5,000 in scholarships!
We’re accepting essays, videos, graphic designs, poems, and illustrations from Arizona high school and college students that highlight the dangers of drunk driving. We will select five winners, one in each category, and award each a $1,000 scholarship. The deadline to apply is April 2nd, and we will be announcing our winners on April 30, 2018. Check out our scholarship page to learn more details, including how to submit your own piece.
And remember that Ubers, taxis, public transportation, and phoning a friend is always a better option than driving if you’re going to be celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day!
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer