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What can a Virginian do to help prevent drunk driving crashes?

Many Virginians are aware of the dangers of drunk driving and the tragedy that can follow a drunk driver's getting behind the wheel. Understandably outraged, many wonder what they can to do prevent an activity responsible for the deaths and injuries of so many throughout the state.

While most drivers realize the extreme importance of never driving drunk, it's also crucial to never get in a vehicle with someone who has had a drink or two - or more. Even if someone who has been drinking appears to be alert, they still pose a tremendous danger to themselves and others and can easily cause a drunk driving accident. Anyone whose blood alcohol content is at or above 0.08 percent, the legal limit in Virginia, is impaired and should never get behind the wheel. Others can do their part by insisting on a taxi, staying where they are, securing a designated driver or even distracting the drunk driver so that they do not get in the driver's seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has noted that younger drivers are more apt to be involved in deadly wrecks which are alcohol-related. Specifically, drivers ages 21 to 34 are involved in about half of deadly drunk driving crashes. Parents can do their part by insisting early on that their teens and young adults receive the proper lessons regarding never driving drunk. In addition, parents can make sure they are always available for a ride home if proximity permits.

If one is on the road and spots a driver who appears to be intoxicated, the best thing to do is usually drive defensively and keep a safe distance. Even pulling off the road if need be can prevent one from becoming an accident victim. Once one has pulled into a safe spot, alerting the authorities to a drunk driver has the potential to prevent catastrophe as well.

Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, "Drunk Driving FAQs," Accessed Aug. 11, 2014

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