This Halloween, Anderson’s Autobody is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind everyone that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween, as more pedestrians are out at night from Friday, October 28-Monday, October 31 on the hunt for candy. If your night involves drinking some of the witch’s brew at a Halloween festivity, plan ahead for a sober ride home. Remember: It’s never safe to drink and drive.
Because of the parties, scary movie nights, and trick-or-treating, Halloween can be especially dangerous on our local roads. In Idaho, 38 percent of fatal car crashes involve drugs or alcohol. Between 2016 and 2020, there were 129 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night in the U.S. (6 p.m. October 31 – 5:59 a.m. November 1). Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (68%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2020.
“While you are planning your Halloween costume and party plans, plan for a sober ride home too,” says Bob Anderson, Business Owner of Anderson’s Autobody.“Even one drink can impair judgment. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive,” he said.
“Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving – your judgment is still impaired even if you aren’t hammered. Walking while intoxicated or playing on a phone can also be deadly, as a lack of attention to surroundings puts pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle,” he added.
Tragically, about one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations at or above .08 grams per deciliter). In 2020, there were 11,654 people killed in drunk-driving crashes. Do not contribute to these senseless deaths in our community by driving drunk this Halloween. Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians — whether they be children trick-or-treating or adults who have had too much to drink.
“We want our community to have a fun night out on Halloween, but to also stay safe and make responsible choices,” said Bob. “In today’s world, there are many options available to drivers to help them get home safely. We expect drivers to refrain from driving after drinking and would rather not see a surge in collision repairs next week.” Bob said.
In Idaho, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or with a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, and 0.02% or greater if you are under the age of 21. It is also illegal to operate a commercial vehicle with a BAC level of 0.04% or more.
Financial costs are big, too: If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees. “That doesn’t even count car towing, damaged vehicles, higher insurance rates, and lost wages,” added Bob.
For juveniles, a jail sentence of five days is mandatory, but depending on the case, the judge could order a 30-day sentence. Fines also increase to a maximum of $2000 and a minimum of $500. A minor's driver's license will be suspended from between one and two years.
Celebrate with a Plan
If you plan to head out for a night of Halloween partying, follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:
- Review and share with your teenagers the online resources from SHIFT Idaho to get a sober ride home: https://shift-idaho.org/beheretomorrow/
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call your local police or 911 for emergencies. Ponderay Police Department: (208) 265-4251 or Sandpoint Police Department: (208) 265-1482
- See someone who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely, or call the local police for assistance.
Always remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.