Drink Responsibly this Holiday Weekend

Memorial Day is the national holiday where we as Americans join together to remember and honor those killed while protecting our freedoms. It also marks the beginning of summer and the longed for end of the rainy season. While the weather here in the great Northwest is often not as sunny or warm as we might hope, Memorial Day is still often celebrated in campgrounds, backyards, and local parks.  Along with barbecues and picnics, many Memorial Day celebrations include the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

In Washington, drinking and driving is a major cause of injury and death.  Far too often the injury is to innocent victims who’s only fault was to drive on the roads.  Interestingly, “drinking and driving” is not illegal in Washington unless the drinking leads to a level of intoxication that impairs one’s ability to safely operate their vehicle. According to Washington statutes, the “legal limit” of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in  an adult (21 years and older) is .08. This means that if an adult’s BAC is greater than .08, they are by law, under the influence.  Importantly, even if one’s BAC is less than .08, they can still be driving under the influence if their ability to drive is impaired.

In addition to the obvious criminal sanctions a drunk driver could face, he or she may also be civilly liable for all  injuries they cause to a member of the public. To carry last week’s post a step further, drinking and driving is no accident; it is a choice. Given the risk of significant injury and death it can hardly be justified and can no longer be tolerated. Make safe our roads–Don’t drink and drive

Legally, subject to a few limited exceptions, social hosts and other party-goers  have no legal responsibility to protect the public from persons drinking at a party. However, as a father and husband, I like to think we all have a moral responsibility  to make sure our friends and family don’t drink and drive. There are many things that can be done to prevent injury by drunk drivers. This weekend, if a friend, or a loved one, or even a complete stranger with whom you are hanging out has been drinking, don’t let them drive. Make the choice to take their keys or call them a cab. Make safe our roads–Don’t let them drink and drive.

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