Police remind students to designate sober drivers

buzzed driving is drunk driving: designate a sober driverNIU police want students to know that it’s not OK to drive “buzzed.”

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration paint a grim picture of the effect drunk driving has on America.

NHTSA reports there were 10,076 fatalities involving drunk driving in 2013, accounting for 31 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic deaths for that year. That equals about one alcohol-impaired-driving death every 52 minutes.

Certain drivers are more likely than others to drive drunk. Younger drivers ages 18 to 34 are consistently over-represented in fatal alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. In 2013, almost half (45 percent) of the young drivers killed in crashes had BACs of .08 g/dL or higher.

Nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) driving is particularly dangerous because of drunk drivers; the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was over three times higher at night than during the day.

“Here’s what we want people to understand,” NIU Police Commander Donald Rodman said.  “Alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive, it impairs your judgment about whether you can or should drive. Sure, you may think you’re ‘fine,’ but you’re not. The best thing to keep in mind is simply: ‘Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.’ Prevent drunk driving by only driving completely sober.”

Follow these simple tips for a safe semester:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
  • Use NIU’s sober ride program, Huskie Safe Line.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact the NIU Department of Police and Public Safety.
  • Remember: Buzzed driving is drunk driving. If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

For more information, call (815) 753-1212 or email niupd@niu.edu.

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