How To Stop The Slaughter
Keep The Drinker From Driving

Only you can keep the drinker from driving.
And keep the innocent from dying.

Too many traffic accidents aren't accidents. They are caused by drinkers who drive, and by the people who did not stop them. Also at fault are the bystanders who don't take action, and friends who fail to take their keys or call a cab - anything to keep the drinkers off the roads...and the innocent from dying needlessly in alcohol related traffic accidents.

The toll is high, the odds alarming.

Drinkers are not only much more likely to be involved in a crash but much more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

In fact, drinking drivers are behind the wheel in almost HALF of all fatal crashes.

Each year they kill, cripple, and senselessly injure over 150,000 people on Pennsylvania highways.

If you've known one of the innocent victims, you know how intense the suffering can be and how long the pain can last.

But the cost to society goes beyond the human tragedy. Pennsylvanians pay dearly for the crimes of the drinking driver. The total economic loss approaches $1,500,000,000.

That's $124 dollars for every man, woman, and child in this state. Think about that the next time you pay your auto insurance premium.

The big lie.

The single worst thing alcohol does is convince drinkers they're okay to drive.

If they really knew how much slower their reaction times are, and how faulty their judgement becomes in sizing up a hazardous situation, a lot fewer drinkers would drive.

But the same alcohol that interferes with their ability to drive also distorts their judgement of how impaired they really are.

And the more they drink, the worse it gets.

That's when you hear the big lie. "I'm okay, I can drive, I can handle it, I've only had a couple."

Unfortunately for the human race, alcohol does not produce caution. Quite the contrary. Alcohol promotes a sense of invincibility; drinkers are subconsciously convinced they can't possibly be killed driving home.

And no amount of public information seems to be changing this attitude.

The drinkers either won't, or can't, help themselves. That's why we're asking you to step in and provide the necessary assistance.


Tough laws and strict enforcement have helped keep some of the drinkers off Pennsylvania highways.

But the state and municipal police are numbered in the thousands. Drinking drivers number in the hundreds of thousands.

You're the one in the best position to help, because you, and millions like you, will be sitting next to a buddy at the bar who's had one too many, or talking to a friend at a party who's in no condition to drive.

At that moment, you and only you can stop the drinker from driving.

You and only you can take the action necessary to save a life.

Here are some practical suggestions:

Plan ahead if you can.

The best action you can take is to get the drinkers thinking.

If you're one of a group about to go partying, sell the rest on the idea of a designated driver.

The designated driver is the person agreed on beforehand who will stay sober and drive the others who are drinking.

Many bars and clubs are happy to give the designated driver free soft drinks all night long. Because you free the bartender from worrying about your gang.

Another way to plan ahead is to turn your parties into sleepovers.

If you're inviting people to your house, let them know they can spend the night. If you're having a crowd, ask them to bring their own sleeping bags. What's fun for the kids can be fun for the grown-ups.

Big parties, such as wedding receptions, should be held at motels or hotels where everybody can spend the night.

Taking on-the-spot action.

Putting yourself between the drinker and the driving won't make you terribly popular at the moment, but they always thank you in the morning.

Here's what you'll have to do:

* Talk the drinker out of his keys. Persuasion beats confrontation.
* Call a cab for the drinker (many restaurants, bars, and clubs have call-a-cab programs.)
* If a cab is impractical, get a non-drinker to drive the drinker home, or do it yourself, providing you are sober.
* Find the drinker a place to spend the night, If the drinker is a friend, why not put him/her up at your house.
* Put time to work. If you can't get the drinker to a place where they can spend the night, delay their driving for as long as possible. Have the drinker eat, take a nap, take a walk, or have some coffee. Whatever you can do to end further drinking and allow the alcohol to wear off helps, no matter how long it takes.
* Get help from friends or the bartender if necessary.


Saving the drinker who wants to save face.

Some people would rather die than lose face. That may not be logical, but it's often true when you're dealing with someone alcohol-impaired.

Find your own words, but remember that the trick is to have drinkers give up the keys without giving up their pride.

Don't accuse them of being drunk. Don't put them on the defensive.

Make it easier for the drinker to agree with you.

To get the drinker nodding "yes," make your case slowly, gently, even humorously. Humor can, in many cases, disarm the drinker's defenses.

Try phrases like, "Hey, I've been there myself. It's no problem for me. You'd do the same for me, wouldn't you?"

Counter the drinker's arguments or objections by seeming to agree. "I see your point. I can understand why you say that, but..." Then channel the conversation your way.

Make the drinker fee smart.

You can say, "You're too smart to take a chance. Let me drive you this once."

"Of course, you're able to drive. But with all that alcohol on your breath, do you really want to? You might get stopped for no reason at all, then the police could test you and you couldn't refuse."

"You're a lot smarter than a guy I work with. He got stopped and lost his license for a year."

"You're too good a driver to get a drunk-driving conviction on your record. You can't get it off for seven years - did you know that? And then you know what's going to happen to your insurance."

Try guilt and fear.

"You could go to jail..."

"You could kill some kid..."

"If you had a crash, you'd be in big trouble even if it was the other guy's fault."

"Suppose your family found out? Can you imagine calling them from jail?"

"How could you face your kids if something happened?"

"If they took your license, how would you get to work? You might lose your job!"

"Know what happened to my neighbor? Had a couple drinks, hit somebody, family sued, and he was ruined. Bankrupt. Just one party, and everything he'd worked for was wiped out."

Give them choices.

Indtead of just saying, "Let me call a cab," try offering a choice.

"Would you like me to call a cab, or maybe your wife is home and I could call her?"

"Would you like to stay at a motel or come to my place?"

Pressure and threats when all else fails.

"If you don't let me drive you home, I'm going to call your (wife, husband, parents, whomever) right now."

Do whatever works.

Promise yourself you'll keep the drinker from driving.

It's a commitment you've got to make, because if you don't, and something happens, you'll live with the guilt forever.


While you're paying attention to the other guy, we hope you won't forget your own drinking-and-driving behavior, which means surrendering your own keys when you've been drinking.

Better yet, plan in advance who will be driving and who will be drinking. Eat before you drink, and always wear your seat belt, which may be your first and best defense against the drinker who drives.

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