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AAA Reminds Norwalk: Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk During Holidays

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FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- With more than 90 percent of holiday travelers driving to their destinations, AAA of Southern New England is urging motorists in Fairfield County to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving.

According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, 1 in 8 licensed drivers, who drink at least occasionally, reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.

The survey also found that 91 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable, with 42 percent reporting that drunken drivers are a bigger problem today compared with three years ago.

Despite the warnings about drinking and driving, especially during the holiday season, an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death occurs every 45 minutes, according to the foundation.

It’s been said many times, many ways: friends don’t let friends drive drunk. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. Here are some reminders about the deadly mix of drinking and driving:

♦ Adults, who choose to drink, should first choose a designated driver before consuming any alcohol.

♦ If you’re hosting a holiday party where alcohol is served, be a responsible host: Note who’s coming; who’s drinking, who’s driving and who’s most likely to mix drinking and driving. Collect all car keys in a basket by the door when people arrive at the party.

♦ If a close friend is buzzed, use a soft calm approach at first. Suggest it would be better if someone else drove or if they took a cab.

♦ Try to make it sound like you’re doing the ‘friend’ a favor. Try to avoid embarrassing the person or being confrontational.

♦ If it’s somebody you don’t know well, speak to their friends and have them make an attempt to persuade the person in question to hand over the keys.

♦ If a soft approach doesn’t work and the person insists on driving, take a stand: tell them you’re not going with them and you’ll call someone else for a ride; take a cab or walk.

PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.

AAA Southern New England is a not-for-profit auto club with 51 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey providing travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.

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