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Putnam CTC, Sheriff Say 'Buzzed' Driving Is Still Drunk Driving

Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith and the Putnam Communities That Care Coalition are warning drivers this holiday season that "buzzed" driving is still drunk driving. Law enforcement officials will be out in droves this year to keep the roads safe.
Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith and the Putnam Communities That Care Coalition are warning drivers this holiday season that "buzzed" driving is still drunk driving. Law enforcement officials will be out in droves this year to keep the roads safe. Photo Credit: File

CARMEL, N.Y. – Eggnog and other alcoholic libations will abound at holiday parties around the region, and some folks may be tempted to take a nip or two before they get behind the wheel.

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and local law enforcement officials, are reminding party-goers that -- like the commercial says -- a "buzzed" driver is still a drunk driver.

Said Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith: “A lot of folks think they know their own limits.”

“They think that if they’re just a little ‘buzzed,’ then they’re still good to drive.”

But this could be further from the truth, said Smith, chairman of the Putnam County Traffic Safety Committee.

“Time and again, drivers who may have only had a couple of drinks put themselves and others at serious risk,” he said. “Driving with any alcohol in your system can be dangerous.”

Also spreading the message this year is Bruce Kelly, coordinator of the Putnam Communities That Care Coalition.

“We really want all Putnam County drivers to understand that you don’t have to be falling-down drunk to be impaired,” Kelly said.

In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes around the nation, Smith and Kelly said. In December of that year alone, there were 733 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator.

Thirty-one percent of all crash fatalities in 2013 in America involved drunk driving, Kelly said.

Lastly, they urged party-goers who plan to drink designate a sober driver.

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