Use sober transportation options if planning to party

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published December 19, 2017

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METRO DETROIT — Police and traffic safety organizations are reminding Christmas and New Year’s Eve partygoers to only drive if they plan to refrain from alcohol and stay sober.

According to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, his department doesn’t tell people not to drink or enjoy parties during the holidays. But he said police do tell people not to drink and then drive in an automobile. 

Bouchard believed that younger
people are taking advantage of ride-sharing options like Uber and Lyft to
take them home when a designated driver is not available. However, not everyone has followed suit. 

He explained that holidays such as New Year’s Eve and the night before Thanksgiving tend to see spikes in drinking and driving incidents. 

“There still is obviously a segment of the population that hasn’t gotten the message, and it’s sad because not only can it ruin their life, but it can destroy other lives and families,” he said.

Bouchard said people who are caught driving while under the influence can face a host of penalties such as losing a driver’s license, thousands of dollars in fines and costs, and increased insurance rates. Additional penalties, including prison time, can occur when collisions cause injuries or deaths, he said.

“It just doesn’t make sense on any level to risk it,” he said.

Bouchard also warned everyone else on the road during the holidays to be extra cautious, drive defensively and look both ways when crossing an intersection — even when the light is green.

“You don’t have to go instantly,” he said. “Take a quick glance right and left to make sure someone isn’t running a
red light.”

According to Kendall Wingrove, communications manager at the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, 416 people died in Michigan in 2016 from alcohol- and drug-related vehicle crashes. 

As a result, he said holiday transportation after celebrating is something to take seriously, and some wise decisions can prevent future tragedies.

“We’re encouraging everyone to pause and do a 360-degree assessment of how they plan to get home safely,” Wingrove said. “There’s at least four great options: Call Uber; take a cab; as a group, decide on a designated driver; or if possible, just stay overnight wherever you are and go home the next day.”

Find out more about the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning by visiting www.michigan.gov/ohsp. Find out more about the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office by visiting www.oakgov.com/sheriff.