Local Matters



I t’s Spring Break and almost St. Patrick’s Day, sadly these two vacation times can lead to dangerous driving conditions as alcohol is synonymous with both these times of respite.

Dru Benavides, Texas A&M AgriLife Family & Community Health Agent, is working to spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving. Even one drink can be one too many. For people planning to go out and celebrate the Irish festivities, plan ahead — and remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

According to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more than one-third (37 percent) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. The early hours of March 18, 2017 were the most dangerous. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m., threefourths (75 percent) of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. In fact, from 2013 to 2017, more than one-third (35 percent) of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol concentrations well above the .08 legal limit, with 234 total drunk-driving fatalities. Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to surroundings could put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle. Before you put your keys in the ignition, remind yourself: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If you feel a buzz, you are in no shape to drive.”

Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road: Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem on U.S. roads. If drivers are impaired by any substance — alcohol or drugs — they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Driving while impaired is illegal, period. The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. It’s that simple.

This holiday season, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Watch UR BAC program, and NHTSA urge drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. For those who plan on drinking, plan on not driving. Party with a Plan. Plan for a sober driver to get home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously — your friends are relying on you.

 Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices: (play. google.com/store/ apps/details?id=com. nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en), and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices: (itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/ id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a pre-determined friend and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.

 If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local police department or the Atascosa County Sheriff’s office.

For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing. gov. Drive safe Atascosa County!

NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may E-mail her at nwilkersonholmes@pleasantonexpress.com.

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