Four-Leaf Clovers Don’t Save Lives: Sober Drivers Do

clover cuffsThis Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day – and you know what that means:green clothing, green decorations and even green beer. But if you’re going to have a glass of that festive brew, be sure to hand over your keys first – because luck won’t keep you out of a jam on St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family.  Unfortunately, it has also become a very dangerous night due to the large volume of drunk drivers.

In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – that’s one every 51 minutes!!1  That is 10,000 too many! 80% deaths on St. Patty’s Day involved drunk drivers who were nearly twice the legal limit!2

If you decide to imbibe and opt to enjoy an Irish Car Bomb, don’t rely on the Luck of the Irish to get you home – opt to get a Designated O’Driver!

Irish eyes smile upon the designated sober driver:

Designate a Sober Driver

Don’t bet on your Irish Luck this St. Patrick’s Day – or this could be you!

Finding a designated driver on St. Patrick’s Day isn’t Luck. It’s Smart!!

1. Imparired Driving on St. Patrick’s Day | NHTSA
2. St. Patrick’s Day Safe Driving Campaign

Don’t lose your freedom on the 4th of July!

Don't loose your freedom. Don't drink and drive.While celebrating our nation’s birthday should be a fun and festive event, all too often it turns tragic, as the Fourth of July is considered one of the deadliest times of the year on our nation’s roadways due to a rise in impaired driving.

July 4th is about the birth of a country –NOT the death of its people!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle traffic crashes killed 392 people during the 2010 Fourth of July holiday period (6:00pm July 2- 5:59am July 6).  Of those fatalities, 39 percent were in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Tragically, 46 percent of the alcohol-impaired driving fatalities were 18 to 34 years old. 1

Nationally, more than 10,000 people were killed in impaired driving crashes in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.  That’s an average of one alcohol impaired driving fatality nearly every 51 minutes. 1

Impaired driving is even more fatal at night. During the 2010 July 4th holiday period, the proportion of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in was almost five times higher at night than during the day. In fact, more than 80 percent of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities took place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. 1

While these fatalities are devastating they are fully preventable. Contrary to popular belief, planning ahead does not mean you can’t still have fun. It means nothing more than taking responsibility and making a decision to keep you, your loved ones, and everyone on the road safe.

There are numerous ways to stay safe and celebrate responsibly. NHTSA offers these tips when planning a celebration:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member –if you think that’s a pain, try finding a friend who will bail you out of jail!
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, call 911!
  • And remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Consequences from driving impaired are real. You could kill yourself or someone else, and financial costs from the crash or arrest are significant. In the end, the consequences of driving impaired simply not worth the risk.

Make sure to plan ahead before the celebration begins, otherwise you will be seeing your own version of REDWHITE and BLUE from the lights of the cop that is pulling you over! 

For more information about how to stay safe this Fourth of July, please visit:

1. NHTSA | Impaired

One week before graduation…

From Innocent to Incarcerated (In just one night)

Too young to drink. Too dumb not to drive.

Nathan Gentry’s parents will not be watching him walk at Brownsburg High School’s graduation ceremony this Friday, nor will they experience the proud joy of dropping him off at Indiana University this fall to begin the next chapter of his life. Instead, Nathan’s parents will have to close a chapter in their lives when they lay Nathan to rest today.

Just one week before graduation, Nathan was killed in an auto accident that also put four of his friends in the hospital.

What’s even more tragic is the confirmation that alcohol and marijuana were both factors in a devastating ending to a promising young life, something that could have should have been prevented. This is a tragic reminder of  the consequences of drinking and driving — particularly when you have a novice driver who by all accounts is also a novice drinker.

Car accidents due to inexperienced driving is understandable as well as somewhat unavoidable — it’s simply a fact of life than can be tolerated.  But when a driver decides to get behind the wheel with distractions, booze and selfish decisions their car becomes a “loaded weapon” — is intolerable and 100% preventable.

Teens are at far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population, despite the fact that they are below the minimum drinking age in every State. Among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2006, 31 percent of the drivers who were killed had been drinking and 77 percent of these drivers were unrestrained. 1

Graduation season is upon us, which means parents need to step up their game and talk their teens about alcohol.

It’s not just good parenting — it’s a matter of life and death. While I don’t condone underage drinking, the reality is that it’s going to happen — something I am personally guilty of.   While my mom didn’t support the idea of underage drinking, but the woman also wasn’t an idiot.  What was most important to my mom was to make me aware that if I drank she wouldn’t necessarily ring my neck…unless I made the piss poor decision to get behind the wheel.  She instilled in me that a parents anger over their child’s reckless decisions is generated solely out of love and protection, rather than just trying to be mean.  I credit my mom’s realistic approach to the dangers she knew I would face  as the reason I survived my teenage years. (Thanks mom!)

Parental responsibility to underage drinking

Sure, talking to your teen isn’t easy — but then again, neither is saving lives

Set the standards by talking to your teen about safety issues and the rules that you are setting. Explain each one of your rules and the consequences for breaking it.  Some guidelines should include:

  • Defining acceptable behavior – Different approaches work for different families, chose what works for your family and what you think will resonate with your teen
  • Setting clear consequences for their actions – Lay out a clear message of what your expectations are, and lay out a clear message of the consequences if those expectations aren’t met
  • Be aware of personal liability – While your teen’s safety is the driving factor in this effort, it is important for them to know the legal ramifications as well.  Additionally,  it is also important for adults to also be aware of  the social host liability risks.

Communicate with your teen freely and frequently —  constant communication is the most important factor in helping keep your teen safe!

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here.

Further Reading:


1. NHTSA Teen Drivers | Access to Alcohol

Amigos don’t let amigos drive drunk

Drink On The 5th And In Jail By The 6thCinco de Mayo has become a big night out for many, particularly among young adults. This festive day has another ‘six-pack tradition’ here on All-American party calendar, just like our devotion to becoming Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. But it is also a very dangerous night out because of alcohol-impaired drivers. Impaired driving crashes killed 10,228 people in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.  That’s an average of one alcohol impaired driving fatality nearly every 51 minutes.1

Those celebrating should be sure to designate their sober driver in advance – before the fiesta begins — or you may wake up in jail on Seis de Mayo.

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