Plan Ahead This Holiday Season: Don’t Drive Under the Influence


The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) urges all motorists to be safe during the holidays. Two of the most celebrated dates in December – Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve – are also among the most dangerous due to driving under the influence (DUI).

About one in three traffics deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver.

In 2019, impaired driving crashes were responsible for 568 deaths and 11,444 injuries within California Highway Patrol (CHP) jurisdiction throughout the state.  Each one of these injuries and deaths represents a preventable tragedy and a continued need to focus efforts on reducing impaired driving in California.

In 2020, more than 90,000 violations for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs were cited by CHP officers through California.

Any substance that impairs your driving could result in a DUI arrest. Law enforcement is trained to detect drivers that are under the influence of alcohol, cannabis and/or drugs, including prescription medications, some over-the-counter medications, and illegal drugs.

Drinking alcohol affects your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). It is illegal to drive with a BAC that is 0.08% or more. However, a BAC below .08% does not mean that it is safe or legal to drive.

(.01% – .04%) May be DUI: Anyone, after one drink during a two-hour period – and after two drinks for people weighing 170 pounds or more.

    • Decline in visual functions, decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time

(.05% – .07%) Likely DUI: People weighing less than 170 pounds, after two drinks – after three drinks for people weighing 150 pounds or more – and after four drinks for people weighing 190 pounds or more.

    • Reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, reduced response to emergency driving situations

(.08% – UP) Definitely DUI: People weighing less than 150 pounds, after three drinks – after four drinks for people weighing less than 190 pounds – and after five drinks for anyone.

    • Lack of concentration, short-term memory loss, reduced information processing capability, impaired perception

The pain caused by one person’s choice to drive impaired is often permanent. Every single death left a permanent empty seat at the table and turned a time of celebration into tragedy.

“As part of the Cal OES motto to “be prepared”, prepare your evening by having a designated driver or a plan on how you are going to get home safely” Cal OES’s Law Enforcement, Chief Mark Pazin continues “Drinking under the influence is 100% preventable and is up to the persons to ensure they have a plan.”

Take personal responsibility this holiday season by making a plan for a safe ride home before your celebrations begin.

  • Designate a non-drinking
  • Take a ride service
  • Stay where you are
  • Take public transportation like a taxi, a bus, or a train.
  • Phone a sober friend
  • If you’re a host, provide alternative drinks to your guests

Additionally, if you see a someone you suspect is driving under the influence call 9-1-1.  Be prepared to provide the dispatcher a location, direction of travel, and vehicle description.

For more preparedness information, visit Ready California