New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest celebrations of the year, but it also has a dark side. New Year’s is one of the holidays with the highest rates of drunk driving. And many of the people caught driving drunk on New Year’s are first-time offenders.
The crime of driving while intoxicated (DWI) occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxication commonly means that you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, but you can also be considered legally intoxicated if you ingest drugs, whether prescription or illegal, and drive in public.
To avoid a first-time DWI on New Year’s Eve:
- Plan for alternative transportation before you begin drinking for the evening. We have several options in Austin, including public transit, taxis and ridesharing apps.
- If you’re going to drink, drink smart. Eat plenty of food and alternate drinks with water.
- It doesn’t matter how close you live to your New Year’s destination – even a short jaunt in your car can result in a DWI.
- People often follow the “one-drink-per-hour” rule to keep their inebriation in check. But even if you do follow this rule, that does not mean that after four drinks and four hours you are okay to drive. Every person’s body reacts differently to alcohol. There is no hard and fast rule to determine whether you are sober enough to drive. Err on the side of caution.
- Designate a driver, and make sure it is someone you can rely on not to cave to peer pressure during the celebrations.
- If you are planning on being far from home, arrange alternate lodgings for the night. Book a nearby hotel or stay with a close-by friend.
Stay safe, Austin, and have an amazing New Year’s! We’ll see you in 2018!