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
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
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
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
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
That's when you hear the big lie.
"I'm okay, I can drive, I can handle it, I've only had a
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.
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE.
Tough laws and strict enforcement
have helped keep some of the drinkers off Pennsylvania
But the state and municipal police
are numbered in the thousands. Drinking drivers number in the hundreds of
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
Plan ahead if you
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
The designated driver is the
person agreed on beforehand who will stay sober and drive the others who
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
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
* Talk the drinker out of his
keys. Persuasion beats confrontation.
* Call a cab for the drinker (many restaurants, bars, and clubs have
* 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.
APPEALS YOU CAN MAKE.
Saving the drinker who wants to
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
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
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
Make the drinker fee
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
"You're a lot smarter than a guy I
work with. He got stopped and lost his license for a
"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
Try guilt and fear.
"You could go to
"You could kill some
"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
"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
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
"If you don't let me drive you
home, I'm going to call your (wife, husband, parents, whomever) right
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
BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND!
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
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.