BY KATE CARLSEN
Summer is the season of fun in the sun and getting together with friends and family for barbeques, boating or a day at the beach. Many of these get-togethers include alcohol and, all too often, drunk driving. A day of fun quickly turns into a loved one gambling with their life, and the lives of others on the drive home.
You may be surprised to know that in Washington drunk driving is the single largest cause of fatal collisions and more DUI citations are issued in August than any other month.
Additionally, drunk driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in America. That is why local law enforcement will be conducting extra DUI patrols throughout August. The goal is to take impaired drivers off the road in an effort to protect sober drivers who share the roadways and to save families from the devastating consequences of a DUI collision.
To avoid the pain and cost of drunk driving from touching your life and the lives of those you love, here are some tips for your upcoming summer gatherings:
• Maintain a designated driver rule at your summer parties. Anyone drinking alcohol at the party must be accompanied by a sober driver.
• Trade an alcoholic beverage for your guest's car keys.
• Host a dry (alcohol-free) party. Try offering your guest a delicious punch and fun non-alcoholic drink alternatives.
• Have a limited supply of alcohol on hand to avoid excessive drinking.
• Do not fear a confrontation. A momentary argument over car keys is nothing compared to the lifetime of pain caused from a DUI collision.
• Finally, remind your guest that extra DUI patrols are going on now.
One night, one party, one event, can change a family's life forever. A day or evening of drinking alcohol is not worth risking your life and the lives of those you love. So remember, after your next BBQ, boating or day at the beach if you Drive Hammered, you will Get Nailed.
Kate Carlsen is a spokesman for the Yakima Traffic Safety Commission.