New Year’s Resolution: Alternatives to Drinking & Driving in OKC
New Year’s Eve is right around the corner. One of the more festive occasions of the year, it is also, unfortunately, a big night for drunk driving, alcohol-related car crashes and DWI arrests. Do you have a plan in place? Nobody wants to start off the new year in a car wreck or behind bars.
While most of us will be ringing in the new year, police will be out in full force looking for signs of anyone driving under the influence. These signs include:
- changing lanes without signaling
- driving slower than the regular traffic flow
- and other traffic law violations certain to arouse suspicion.
Last year, Oklahoma City Metro-area law enforcement made 31 DUI arrests between 7 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 7 a.m. the next morning. Fortunately, there were no traffic fatalities in the city during that time. There were 11 fatalities, however, reported throughout the state from 6 p.m. Friday, December 28 to 6 a.m. Jan. 2. Throughout the month of December 2012, Oklahoma City police made 226 DUI arrests.
Knowing Your Limit
How many drinks it takes to put you over the legal limit of .08 depends on how much you weigh, your gender and what type of alcoholic beverage you are drinking. Individuals metabolize alcohol at different rates, but as few as two drinks of alcohol can put many people over the legal limit. For example, 120-pound woman can have a blood alcohol content of .08 after two drinks within an hour. Here is another great blood alcohol calculator that you should try: https://www.b4udrink.org/virtual-bar.
There are many phone apps that help you keep track of your drinking. These two apps in particular have many great features to help you understand how much alcohol you have consumed. Do not use these apps entirely to decide whether or not you should drive, and if ever in doubt, choose a sober option.
Get tech savvy and download these apps prior to New Year’s Eve to help you gauge your alcohol consumption:
Drink Tracker uses your age, height, weight and gender to calculate your blood alcohol content based on your consumption of alcohol. You keep a drink diary, and Drink Tracker updates your BAC every 60 second and includes a countdown clock to show how quickly you’re approach legal intoxication. One of the greatest functions of this app is the taxi finder function to help you get home safely after a night of fun!
AlcoDroid Drink Tracker, for the Droid platform, gives an estimate of blood alcohol content based on the drinks you log into the app. It also plots how long it will take your blood alcohol level to drop below the legal limit.The AlcoDroid Drink Tracker app allows you to present your favorite drinks into the app so that when you are out this New Year’s Eve, you will be able to easily track your liquor consumption. Functions of this app include:
- A drink logbook
- The ability to chart your drink consumption on a daily, weekly or monthly basis
- Your personalized drinking consumption based on daily, weekly or monthly intake
- The ability to easily pin favorite drinks to the home screen
Safe Options for Rides Home
It’s important to plan ahead. After you’ve had a little (or a lot) too much bubbly isn’t the time to start thinking about catching a ride home. By then, sound judgment will be out the window and delusions of invincibility will have kicked in.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options:
Designated Driver – Yes, there are non-drinkers in the world. Perhaps a friend, co-worker or relative planning on staying sober would happily join you at the party and drive you home. Offer to pay for gas or buy lunch or surprise them with a wrapped gift in exchange for the service. Chances are, just knowing you’ll make it home safely will be enough.
BeMyDD – Don’t know anyone staying sober on New Year’s Eve? One option may be a designated driving service. One such service available in Oklahoma City is BeMyDD. The idea is to pre-arrange a designated professional driver who transports you about town in your own car. The company claims that it offers the services of a chauffeur at a much cheaper rate by using the customer’s car. You can arrange a driver on-line by visiting the website or by calling 1-877-U-BEMYDD (1-877-823-6933). All BeMyDD drivers are certified and go through a thorough background check.
AAA Oklahoma – Once again this year, Oklahoma City is participating in the AAA “Tipsy Tow” program, a free service designed to keep unsafe drivers off the road. Membership in AAA is not required. The program is simple: call (800) 222-4357 and someone will pick you up and tow your car home, as long as it is within 15 miles. No questions asked. The program runs mid-December through January as well as Thanksgiving and Memorial Day weekends. Other Oklahoma cities participating in the program include Tulsa, Muskogee, Ardmore, Enid, Lawton, Norman and Shawnee.
Catch a Cab – Cabbies are swamped on New Year’s Eve. It’s a good idea to pre-arrange pick-ups as best you can, or else you might be stuck waiting a very long time for your ride to arrive. Make sure you store numbers of a few cab companies in your phone, in case they’re needed. There are dozens of cab companies that service the Oklahoma City area. Here’s a sampling of a few of them:
OKC Green Taxi
Checker Cab Company
Take a Bus:
You can also catch a Metro Transit bus to avoid drinking and then driving. If you decide to catch a taxi or bus and need to leave your car downtown, Parking OKC has a number of parking garages. The rates range from $8 to $10 for a 24-hour period. Metro Transit buses will not be operating New Year’s Day.
- Century Center parking garage, 100 W. Main
- Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens
- Santa Fe parking garage, 2 Santa Fe Plaza
- Sheridan/Walker parking garage, 501 W. Sheridan
Other ideas: party at home, book a hotel room within walking distance of your party, or abstain from drinking altogether and start the new year feeling like a million bucks! Or, go on and party like a rock star. Just plan ahead to make sure you get home safely.
Remember, if you plan on ringing in the new year with alcohol, do the responsible thing and make sure someone else drives you home.
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