DUI Proof Your New Year, For Life

dui proof new yearOne more year is ending, with the hopes and promises of a clean slate beginning on Tuesday. We are not here to beat a dead horse, or to sit upon our high horse. In fact, horses and drunk driving really do not have a lot in common. What we do want to remind everyone of is that each year, and each day, we all have a choice to make when we have been drinking: whether or not we can drive safely.

One in three traffic-related fatalities are attributed to drunk drivers, a statistic that has not budged much in the past few years. We have watched as states increase penalties for drunk driving, expand their ignition interlock access laws, and increase the training and presence of law enforcement. Still, that number remains pretty much the same. The only reasonable conclusion we can come to is that we are not doing enough to prevent drunk driving. We are not stopping our friends and family, and we are not stopping ourselves.

This year, let’s DUI proof our lives, for our family, friends, and loved ones, and for everyone on the roads.

Drunk driving is a choice. It is a 100% preventable crime that destroys lives. You may be too non-confrontational to take away the keys of a friend who has had too many drinks, or you may be too embarrassed to ask for a ride home when you have been drinking. However, each of those choices you make can devastate the lives of others. Being DUI proof means you do not care how it looks when you call for a safe ride home, you only care that people (including you) get home safely.

Drunk driving is one of those choices you can not change, and you cannot take it back. Be smart and safe, DUI proof your New Year and your life, and be the change we all need to see in the world.

You Have a Full Week of DUI Decisions

DUI decisionsHappy Tuesday, how is your hangover?

This kind of week only happens every few years, where there is no pause between the Christmas and New Year holidays, just a few weekdays that nobody is taking seriously. There is a sense of intoxicating freedom in the air this week, or maybe that is the intoxication of alcohol. After all, with only a few days until Friday, when we start the New Year’s celebrations early, there’s no real reason to stay sober, right? DUI decisions can make or break the rest of your life. Literally. There is no “hair of the dog” that can fix a hangover built on regret.

When we take advantage of the time off during the holiday season, a lot of us will continue drinking like there is no work tomorrow. Whether or not you need to clock in, you may want to remember that drinking and driving is still a crime, and still deadly, even during the holiday break. This complicates the week of fun you had planned because each day is just one more of those DUI decisions you have to make.

Remember that even if you drink and get a few hours of sleep, you could still be intoxicated from the night before. Morning-after DUIs are still a thing to be aware of, especially if you tied one on the night before and lived to battle your morning commute.

When you have a week of DUI decisions to make, that is a nice handful of days to make the right decision. When you don’t drink and drive, you don’t have to worry about court costs and ignition interlock devices. There’s no panic over the past and how you could have done things differently. Choosing not to drink and drive means you made the right decision, one that saved lives in the process.

Celebrating Sober Driving with Holiday Glee

sober driving through the holiday seasonEither you love the holidays, or you cannot stand the holidays. Either way, they are almost over, and you have a lot to be proud of like you have not had any problems with a DUI so far! Right? Mistakes happen, and they happen a lot more frequently during high-stress times, like in December when we are so busy doing for others that we forget our normal safety routine when drinking.

Instead of beating yourself up later, let’s try a few of these:

  • This year, let us all be present for Christmas, and make sure nobody is driving home if they have had any drinks. Today is a gift, and so is sober driving.
  • Let us try to plan our parties and gatherings with an understanding that not everyone will be able to drive home safely, so we must make those calls ourselves. The holiday spirit can take away keys just as easily as it hands out drinks. It is called balance.
  • We can use our collective holiday cheer to raise money for DUI prevention programs, like MADD.
  • We can simply pledge to drive sober this holiday season, and mean it all year long.

We are not trying to take the fun out of the holiday season, but we know enough about DUIs, drunk driving, ignition interlock devices, and the devastation of impaired driving to remind you of what you stand to lose when you drink and drive.

Happy holidays to everyone, and may the coming year be one filled with fun, friendship, and more rolling good times than rolling retests!

From our ignition interlock elves to your family, we wish everyone the happiest of holidays, the seasoniest of seasons, the wonders of winter, and the security of safe roads. Enjoy these good times and keep fighting the sober driving fight.

Talking Turkey: Cousin Todd’s Thanksgiving Drunk Driving Debacle

Cousin Todd says no drunk driving this ThanksgivingThanksgiving should be a happy, family-oriented occasion with food, football, and fun. But if you’re driving to Grandma’s house, shopping the sales or running back to the grocery store for the umpteenth time, you could be in the path of a drunk driver or at risk for drunk driving yourself. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is the most dangerous for drunk driving. This year, we can all take drunk driving off the menu.

Cousin Todd was once in your shoes, with plenty of reasons to drink away the family fun.

Families can be a huge source of anxiety, leading to drinking more than we planned. Then we have to get home, or just get out, and we don’t want anyone to know that we are not safe to drive.  Asking for a ride home would just make all of that family-related stress and anxiety worse.That’s how Cousin Todd got a DUI one year. The family brings it up every Thanksgiving.

When you know you will be drinking, even on Thanksgiving, you should already have a way home that doesn’t involve getting behind the wheel yourself. You can always call a friend or a cab, or find another reliable and safe way to get back home. Risking a drunk driving offense, ignition interlock requirement, or the lives of others is certainly not worth it.

Just like Cousin Todd, sometimes our judgment is cloudy before we even take our first sip of wine. Stressful times can lead to disastrous decisions with many of those decisions related directly to alcohol. Don’t let family and holiday stress drive you down a dangerous and expensive path. Law enforcement is ready to make sure you understand that your choice was dangerous, and that is always the least of the real worries when you’re drinking and driving. Stay sober, stay safe, and enjoy the time you have.

Don’t be like Cousin Todd. Have a plan to get home, and be safe this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

(P.S. we apologize to all of the Cousin Todds out there, and wish them all a super happy Thanksgiving, too!)

Blackout Wednesday: Your Holiday DUI Disaster

blackout wednesday disasterBlackout Wednesday. Thanksgiving Eve. The unofficial start of the holiday season, where we wait anxiously for family members to start arriving or head out to bars to start the holiday parties. Whether or not you are intentionally drinking to the point of blacking out, or just having a few more drinks than normal (it is a holiday, after all), keep in mind that the unofficial start of the holiday season is also the official start of holiday DUI arrests, convictions, and worse.

Drinking to the point of blacking out is not only dangerous on the roads. You could also find yourself waking up in the emergency room, or not waking up at all.

When we drink, we can stay at a relatively safe level if we limit ourselves to one standard drink (one serving of beer, wine or spirits) per hour. Unfortunately, that can be difficult to follow when you have an abundance of alcohol at hand, and no reason to go home early. Blackout Wednesday occurs at a time where most people are trying to get their drunk on, which leads to extreme binge drinking behaviors.

Binge drinking and Blackout Wednesday go together like peas and carrots.

The result is a person who has consumed more alcohol than can be processed in a safe amount of time. That means by the time those last three shots have hit, that person may be behind the wheel of a car or happily slipping into a coma.

While we tend to point out a consequence for too much drinking is a DUI, ignition interlock device, or a night in jail, it is vital to remember that a DUI is not the only consequence for overdoing it. When it comes to holiday traditions, perhaps Blackout Wednesday is one we can all agree is not exactly a feel-good family activity. Stay sober, stay safe, and stay alive this holiday season.

Weird DUI: Even Designated Drivers get DUIs

Designated drivers are this year’s top gift request.

designated drivers DUI drunkAs the holiday season looms in the distance, we are all gearing up for fun times with our families and friends. That means we should plan our parties carefully; whether we will be drinking alcohol or enjoying the bounty of non-alcoholic mocktails. However, by the time we have made it through those weeks of festivities and family, our commitment to making responsible decisions may begin to wane. We see the New Year’s Eve finish line and the promise of a sober Dry January and say “why not?” as we toss back another heartwarming shot of cinnamon whiskey.

Just remember: a designated driver chosen at the end of the night is just as likely to end up with a DUI as you are.

In many cases, instead of securing a sober ride before the festivities, we just look around for someone less intoxicated than we are. Designated drivers must be totally sober, not the least drunk. The least drunk designated drivers still end up with DUI charges and an ignition interlock… and could end up hurting you in the process, too.

Also, just because YOU are the least intoxicated, you are not the safest designated driver, either.

Being safe during the holiday season, and throughout the year, requires a commitment to sobriety and to planning to be safe before you leave… when you are still sober. Your judgment quickly changes once you start drinking, allowing that least drunk person at the party to suddenly be an acceptable designated driver. Instead of falling into that same dangerous decision making, give yourself a gift this year and be safe when you are drinking. Be a gift for others, too, and make sure that when it is your turn to be designated driver, that you do not drink a drop of alcohol.

Another Year Older, Another DUI Excuse

another DUI excuseYou can use many excuses as a reason to drink, and most people do. But since the all-important 21st birthday, there has never been an excuse used more often than, “It’s my birthday!” Of course we want to celebrate our birthdays and other important holidays, but each year we grow older and wiser, and that means taking responsibility for our impaired choices.

All year long we find reasons to drink. From the explosive and often drunken start of the New Year to the often volatile and drunken end of the year, Christmas, we find many reasons to imbibe. Celebrations of anniversaries and weddings are all events that feature alcohol. Painting and yoga classes offer alcohol these days. The prevalence of alcohol in all aspects of our lives is still not a DUI excuse. The worst thing you can do after one of these admittedly fun events is getting behind the wheel of a car.

If you get pulled over on your way home or to the next gathering, the worst thing you can do is try to excuse your actions. “I only had a few during the reception” is not an acceptable DUI excuse. Designated drivers are not just for a night spent bar hopping, they are important for any event where alcohol will be present. This includes most sporting events, where “my team lost” is a common DUI excuse that does not excuse any dangerous driving on your part.

No matter if you are attending a professional sporting event or your cousin’s bat mitzvah, if there is going to be alcohol present make sure you have a designated driver or the number to a local cab company to get you home. Imagine yourself trying to explain why you were driving under the influence to your family, friends, or to a courtroom judge, and then make the right decision to avoid that inexcusable behavior. There are no acceptable DUI excuses, just more people living their lives with regret, an ignition interlock device, and a commitment to only driving while sober in the future.

Will We See Another Thanksgiving DUI Blitz in Arizona?

Thanksgiving DUIThe holiday season approaches with high expectations of Black Friday Deals and DUI prevention. There is never a more dangerous time to drink and drive than during a holiday season. Not only because the cops are plentiful on the roads and on high alert for any signs of drunk driving, but because the roads are more crowded with cars full of families traveling to see their loved ones.

Thanksgiving DUI rates rise due to family pressures, holiday shopping, and extended weekends.

Last year, Arizona police set up a Thanksgiving DUI blitz to help discourage drinking and driving during the holiday season. They made 333 DUI arrests, up only slightly from the 317 arrests that were made the year before. Arizona officials are hopeful that coordinated events such as the Thanksgiving DUI blitz will help to limit the number of drivers driving while intoxicated after holiday parties. They want to encourage drivers to remember to always have a designated driver or to use one of the easily available transportation options that do not require you to drive.

The Thanksgiving DUI blitz did not just catch those driving under the influence last year, it also resulted in police officers issuing 243 criminal-speeding tickets and 2,440 civil-speeding tickets. These numbers are both up from 2015 also. The bottom line is you should always exercise caution while operating a motor vehicle and obey the laws, whether they’re DUI laws or speed limits that are put in place to keep you and other drivers safe.

During the holiday season, police officers will be extra vigilant to help keep drivers safe while traveling, but they cannot make your choices for you. If you do not want the only gift you receive this Christmas to be your Thanksgiving DUI, including an ignition interlock requirement, be safe and be smart. This year, Arizona may be planning its own festival of lights. Drive sober.

That’s One Way to Beat a DUI

Don't try to beat a DUI, enjoy your St. Patrick's Day with a safe ride homeIt’s St. Patrick’s Day, where the green beer and good times will be flowing throughout the night, and probably well into the weekend. For those of you ready to celebrate your Irish (or Irish-for-a-day) heritage, remember that it is easier to juggle your opportunities for a safe ride home than the consequences for drunk driving.  Thinking of ways to beat a DUI on your way home? Go ahead and just call a taxi for a safe ride home. Unless you’re this guy, who juggled his way out of a DUI.

Spoiler alert: he was sober.

We’re not saying that you can’t juggle yourself out of a drunk driving arrest, but why take a chance with your freedom and independence. Trying to beat a DUI by refusing a breathalyzer test, turning around before a sobriety checkpoint or lying to police will only cause you more trouble. It’s St. Patrick’s day and you already know you’ll be drinking tonight. Have a plan before you head out so that you don’t have to worry about ways to beat a DUI, ignition interlock requirement or worse.

A safe ride is the only way to beat a DUI.

St. Patrick’s day is the fourth most popular day for drinking in the U.S., with an estimated DUI-related vehicle crash occurring every 72 minutes. There’s no harm in celebrating, as long as you do so safely.

St. Patrick was legendary for chasing the snakes from Ireland, much like our law enforcement chases drunk drivers off our roads on this unofficial holiday. Fortunately, St. Patrick’s Day only happens once a year, and anyone who has to chase down drunk drivers is happy to see that holiday come and go each year. There are better ways to spend your time, energy and money than trying to beat a DUI this St. Patrick’s day.

Happy New Year from IIH!

Happy New Year from IIHRaindrops on roses… brown paper packages… and of course, that annual New Year’s Eve champagne toast. Those are a few of our favorite things! We all have things we look forward to during the holidays, none of which should be the burden of a DUI or drunk driving conviction. Instead, you have a lot of traditions you could follow that are even easier than corned beef and cabbage.

  • Instead of drinking champagne at midnight, opt for a non-alcoholic holiday cocktail and show your solidarity with those who aren’t big on booze.
  • Better yet, offer to be the first hero of the New Year as the party’s designated driver.
  • Pre-pay a rideshare service before you head out for the night so that you have one less step to take when you’re ready to go home.
  • Share your ride with others at the party. Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and transportation choices.
  • Have a New Year’s Eve sleepover. Send out invites, specify sleeping bags are necessary and host an indoor campout to ring in 2017.
  • Under NO circumstances should you start your New Year with a DUI.

Not only would a New Year’s DUI set a pretty bad tone for the rest of the year, but your holiday expenses would include court costs and fine and an ignition interlock requirement in many cases.

Our advice for the best year ever is to start today with your plan for sober driving. Test out that plan this weekend, and see how it works through New Year’s Day. From there, you can even push forward through 2017 and have an entire year of sober driving, showing your friends, family and loved ones that your favorite thing is sober driving. That’s a reason to celebrate!

Happy New Year, and may 2017 bring us all peace, joy and safety!