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Buzzed driving is drunk driving: Options for a safe ride this New Year’s Eve

News8000.com | WKBT News 8
News8000.com | WKBT News 8
 2021-12-31

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Area first responders say there is no reason people ringing in the new year with alcohol should drive home.

The New Year is a time for celebration. This year, New Year’s Eve falls on a Friday, so crowds could be even larger.

“Most people are going to be off the next day, so that may allow them to go out and celebrate a little bit more,” said Chief Charles Ashbeck of the Onalaska Police Department.

For many, their New Year’s celebration involves alcohol. Last year alone, 167 people were killed on Wisconsin roads in an alcohol-related crash. Another 31,000 were injured.

“It only takes one episode of drunk driving to completely change your life, whether that be an accident, whether that be injuring yourself or someone else,” said Dr. Trevor Diercks of Mayo Clinic.

Alcohol impairs judgement, slows reaction time and reduces coordination.

“There’s been a lot of cases in our ER of drunk driving and the accidents afterwards, and they can be pretty devastating for people,” Diercks said.

Diercks said if you’re planning to drink, you shouldn’t base driving off of how you feel.

“The more you drink, the more you can gain some confidence—which could be false confidence—in what your abilities are,” Diercks said.

Everyone is different. Whether its body weight, age or biological sex. Healthline reports that in general, your liver can process around one standard drink an hour.

Healthline says that in general… your liver can process around 1 standard drink an hour. Zero in Wisconsin offers a blood alcohol calculator on its website . The legal limit is .08%, but even below that driving ability could still be impaired.

Diercks advises drinking water and eating as you go, and both experts suggest making a plan.

“If you do drink where you are impaired, please have a designated driver. Or, there’s other rideshare options available in this area where you can get a safe ride home,” Ashback said.

Doing this will help you keep yourself and the community safe, and avoid getting a ticket.

La Crosse’s Tavern League offers a free safe ride program to help keep impaired drivers off the roads.

Here in La Crosse, the safe ride bus also provides free rides between downtown and the campuses’ residential areas. That bus will be available between 10:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

And remember the phrase — buzzed driving is still drunk driving.

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