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On late Friday night, an Atlanta man was killed when his motorcycle collided with a car in Paulding County. According to the Georgia State Patrol, the driver of the car, 23-year-old Joshua Michael Mosley, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, failure to yield, vehicular homicide in the first degree, and open container.

Anytime a tragedy like this strikes, it is a reminder that although we’ve come a long ways with preventing drunk driving, there is still work to be done. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009 alone, there were 10, 839 fatalities in crashes that involved an impaired driver with a BAC over .08, a figure that translate to one alcohol-impaired fatality every 48 minutes. This staggering number accounts for a total of 32% of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the country. While the data from NHTSA reflects a decrease in alcohol-related fatalities as compared to 2008, it also highlights a continued need to seriously address impaired driving and take steps to prevent these avoidable accidents from occurring.

Of course you can’t control the other drivers on the road, but you can take steps to ensure that your own behavior is safe. And, everyone can do their part to make sure that their friends and loved ones also follow safe drinking and driving practices:

  • When you head out with friends to parties that involve drinking, make sure you designate a driver.
  • Monitor your own intake of alcohol– if you are too impaired to drive, call a taxi or get a ride from someone else. Give your keys to someone else.
  • Monitor how much others are drinking and take car keys away from anyone who is impaired and shouldn’t be driving.
  • If you are playing host, offer alcohol-free beverages and help monitor your guests’ alcohol consumption.

There are also things that everyone can do, regardless of whether they themselves drink alcohol or visit locations and parties where alcohol is served:

  • When you are driving, be alert to any cars that seem to be driving erratically.
  • Maintain a larger than normal distance between your car and the erratic car.
  • Follow all traffic laws and use your seatbelts
  • Report drunk drivers to local authorities.

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