Buzzed driving is drunk driving

This Halloween, the Fresno and Madera county AVOID the 21 DUI Task Force is reminding Halloween partiers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If your Halloween party involves alcohol, then you have to make a plan to get home without getting behind the wheel.

The AVOID the 21 DUI Task Force is deploying DUI Saturation Patrols with extra DUI officers throughout Fresno and Madera counties on Halloween night to supplement routine patrol officers on one of the most deadly nights of the years.

Officers will be looking for the tale-tell sign of alcohol and or drug impairment during each enforcement contact, all weekend long as many will be attending parties were alcohol is served.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 43% of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 - 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1) from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver.

On Halloween night alone, 119 people lost their lives over that same period nationwide. Children out trick-or-treating and the parents accompanying them are also at risk, as 19% of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night (2009-2013) involved drunk drivers.

It is illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes with 867 of those in California alone along with 23,000 others seriously injured across the state.

Even if you drive drunk and aren’t killed or seriously injured you could end up paying as much $10,000 for a DUI.

Recent statistics reveal that 30% of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14%) than did for alcohol (7.3%). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4%, slightly more than alcohol.

Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication - whether prescription or over-the-counter - drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects.

Law Enforcement emphasizes the preventable nature of drunk driving reminding everyone that all it takes is a little planning ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, don’t drink and drive Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, so follow these simple tips to stay safe:

* Plan a safe way to get home before you attend the party. Alcohol impairs judgment, as well as reaction time. If you’re drunk, you’re more likely to choose to drive drunk.

* Designate a sober driver; take public transportation, a car service, or a call a sober friend of family member to get home.

* Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.

* Use your community’s sober ride program.

* Report drunk drivers - call 911.

* If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.

The AVOID the 21 campaign is partnering with officers from around the region as part of the national and statewide effort.

Funding for these special operations are provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Avoid the 21 DUI Task Force