As part of a nationwide effort, the Idaho Transportation Department joins the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, law enforcement officials and other safety partners to remind motorists to designate a sober driver before attending Cinco de Mayo festivities that involve alcohol.
“Cinco de Mayo has become a big night out for people, particularly young adults. But it is also a very dangerous night out because of alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers. That’s why we are reminding those celebrating this year to be sure and designate their sober driver in advance – before the festivities begin,” says Kevin Bechen of ITD’s Office of Traffic and Highway Safety.
Since 1999, an average of 43 percent of all highway fatalities each year on May 5 and overnight into the early morning on May 6 were caused by impaired drivers with blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of 0.08 percent and above, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“Whether you are just meeting a few friends after work at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant or attending some other kind of Cinco de Mayo celebration, if you plan on using alcohol, we want you to remember to never drive impaired – and to never let your friends drive if they show signs of impairment,” says Bechen.
He adds that designating a sober driver before the local celebration begins and making sure friends don’t drive impaired are just two of several, simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving when groups go out partying.
If you are planning to use alcohol on Cinco de Mayo:
Impaired driving is one of America’s deadliest problems. Nationally, more than 17,000 people died in alcohol-related highway crashes during 2003. Every 30 minutes, nearly 50 times a day, someone in America dies in an alcohol-related crash. Hundreds of thousands more are injured each year. According to NHTSA, about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.
“Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is simply not worth the risk,” Bechen says. “You risk killing yourself or someone else, and the trauma and financial costs of a crash can be overwhelming.”