The holiday season is officially in full swing, which means it’s time to celebrate. But as always, it’s important to remember to stay safe and drive sober.
The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is hoping to reinforce that message this year with the help of local police squads across the state. Their annual holiday DUI enforcement and sober designated-driver campaign started at the beginning of December and provided some helpful advice and reminders.
“Always use a designated driver. Call a cab, call an Uber, call a Lyft,” if you’re incapable of driving home, said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
“And all I would ask is something very simple: Let’s make it socially unacceptable to be impaired and operate a motor vehicle,” added Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski.
If there’s one thing you don’t want to add to your holiday wishlist, it’s a permanent DUI record. AAA in Arizona estimates that even a first-time DUI offense can cost you up to $10,000 in fines, penalties, and legal fees, not to mention increased insurance rates and car breathalyzer prices. In all, alcohol-related car accidents are said to cost $59 billion in the U.S. every year.
While ignition interlock devices can help greatly reduce the number of repeat offenses for drunk driving, the best solution is not to get behind the wheel of a car while you’re impaired in the first place. To that end, AAA’s “Tipsy Tow” service will be returning to Arizona for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The service offers free towing up to 10 miles for drivers who need a hand getting home safely after a night out.
“If you are planning to partake in drinking,” said Stephanie Moe, corporate responsibility supervisor for AAA Arizona, “be sure you have a plan to get home safe. If that plan falls through, AAA’s Tipsy Tow is there if you need it.”
While the cost of a taxi or a tow certainly beats car breathalyzer prices, what’s most important is making sure that everyone traveling by road can have a safe and happy holiday season. Plan ahead for your celebrations and remember not to drink and drive.
If you don’t, you could end up with no choice but to install ignition interlock devices in your cars — if you’re lucky.