The Huron County Sheriff's Office reminds local residents that buzzed driving is drunk driving.
Stay safe and drive sober to spread the holiday cheer, said Lt. Theresa Shean.
"Drunk driving fatalities occur all year round, but data shows that the holiday season, which kicked off Thanksgiving day, is a particularly dangerous time on the roadways," she added.
In 2011, 760 people lost their lives as a result of drunk-driving related crashes during the month of December alone. From 2007 to 2011, 14,318 people lost their lives during December. Twenty-nine percent (4,169) died in crashes that involved drivers with blood-alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
Sheriff Dane Howard and the HCSO are joining highway safety partners and law enforcement organizations across the country to remind people that "buzzed driving" is drunk driving, not only during the upcoming holiday season, but throughout the year and to always designate a sober driver.
Whether you have had just one or one too many, hand the keys to a sober driver. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Your decisions can be the difference between life and death, Shean said. "When you drink and drive, you are endangering yourself, your passengers and those on the road around you."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2011 and 31 percent (9,878) of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving related crashes.
Even one drink can increase the risk of a crash while driving, Shean said.
The HCSO recommends designating a sober driver before the party begins and plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night.
If you are impaired, call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or call local free ride programs available in the county.
Between Christmas and New Year's look for various community groups that may advertise their availability to transport people to and from parties or other celebrations where alcohol may be consumed. The goal of these groups is to lessen the likelihood of impaired driver crashes.
If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone's life and inaction could cost a life.
Drunk driving can result in arrest, loss of driving privileges, higher insurance rates, lost time at work, court costs, fines, attorney's fees and many other unwanted consequences.
The holidays should be a time for celebration, not tragedy. Join the sheriff and his staff in making the Huron County roadways safer by never driving after drinking.
Remember: "Buzzed driving is drunk driving."