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Methods for reducing the risk of drunk driving

When celebrating the holidays with friends and loved ones in California, alcohol typically plays a role. Alcohol consumption often leads to a greater risk of drunk driving, which can have a range of devastating consequences. Fortunately, there are several methods in place to help reduce the chance of accidents and injuries occurring as a result of impaired driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list a few drunk driving prevention strategies that have proven effective. For instance, many law enforcement agencies utilize sobriety checkpoints to locate drivers that have had too much to drink. During a stop, officers assess the sobriety of drivers, and may request a breathalyzer test if there is a suspicion of impairment. Checkpoints usually occur in high-traffic areas, and can involve just a portion of those traveling or all passing vehicles.

Providing alcohol treatment programs to those at risk can also be helpful for reducing drunk driving. The goal is to treat the underlying alcohol problem before it becomes a serious issue requiring intervention by law enforcement. To have the best chance of success, programs should be available in a number of different venues (from academic settings to health care institutions).

On a personal level, certain strategies are effective when encountering an inebriated individual determined to get behind the wheel. MADD suggests using an even and non-confrontational approach when communicating with a drunk driver. Express concern that this person could be harmed or even injure someone else, and offer alternatives (such as staying with a friend, calling a cab, etc.) If the person continually refuses assistance and it's not possible to take keys away, notify law enforcement. Along with these steps, having a designated driver in place is encouraged when participating in activities where alcohol will be present.

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