The holidays are a busy time of year, especially out on the roads. That’s why right now is the perfect time to remember the dangers of drinking and driving.

Designated drivers have probably saved at least 50,000 lives and spared many more thousands of people from suffering injury from drunk driving. The proportion of people using or being the designated driver has increased dramatically over time. Each year over 73,000,000 Americans either serve as a designated driver or are driven home by one. For many years, it seemed that people were doing their part to put a stop to this completely preventable epidemic. Alcohol-related traffic fatalities reached a low point in the late 1990s.

Research also indicated that 62% of Americans exposed to the now iconic
Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk campaign had personally intervened to stop someone from driving drunk, no doubt saving many lives. However, since the late 90s, alcohol-related driving deaths have been steadily increasing. Many thought the message targeted overtly drunk drivers, and not them. When decision time came, they considered themselves merely “buzzed” and got behind the wheel.

When one drink is really two…or even five! One standard drink equals about 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor – but there may be way more in your glass. Here’s why:

● Different beers and wines contain different measures of alcohol by volume (ABV). The ABV for beer is generally about 5 percent, but it can range from 3.5 to 6.8. Specialty brews can pack a greater punch: Some as high as an 18 percent ABV. A bottle of wine can range from as little as 9 percent ABV to as much as 15 (most fall between 12 and 14). Check labels or ask your server to find out your drink’s ABV.

● A glass of wine might really be more. Wine glasses today can hold as many as 28 ounces—meaning you could get up to five servings of wine at once if you’re filling that goblet to the rim.

● Mixed drinks are also a mixed bag. Ordering a gin and tonic? There’s no way to tell if the bartender had a heavy hand with the gin. And drinks with multiple types of booze may contain three or more servings of alcohol.

It is critical that drivers recognize the dangers of “buzzed” driving and that we all encourage those around us to avoid driving buzzed. Buzzed driving is drunk driving and creates devastating consequences. Consuming even a few drinks can impair driving, so please take extra care to avoid drinking too much this holiday season so we can all enjoy a safe and happy New Year!

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We hope you enjoyed this post. If there is anything else we can do to help you feel free to call us at (805) 466-2446 (Atascadero) or (805) 239-8752 (Paso Robles). And be sure to stay connected with us on Facebook as well!