Law enforcement officials are warning vacationers that reckless driving is drunken driving

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – Christmas has come and gone and we’re looking at the new year. But if you’re driving during the holiday season, be prepared to drive.

A Huntsville police officer and a state trooper both spoke about the dangers and consequences of drunk driving.

The boss knows that the holidays are a time for gatherings with friends and family and parties. But his biggest warning is drunk driving. And it can have serious consequences.

More than 11,000 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To avoid such a tragedy, the organization says it’s important to have a plan. Have a designated driver or use a ride-sharing app. If you’re the type of person having a party, have non-alcoholic options available.

Officer Tanner Premo with HPD explains why driving home from a party can have long-lasting consequences.

“In Alabama, of course the legal limit is 0.08. But if you’re below that level, you can still get a DUI,” Officer Premo said. “If you’ve reached the point where you can no longer drive because you’ve had too much to drink, no matter what your level is, you can still be arrested for DUI. The same thing can happen no matter how far you drive. Many accidents happen from someone’s home. You never know when it will happen. When you make that decision, the consequences can hit you at any moment.”

Officer Premo says they see an increase in DUIs during the period from Christmas until after New Year’s and they will be out in full force to make sure the highways are safe.

Sergeant Jeremy Burkett with ALEA has a message for those trying to justify having a drink and then getting behind the wheel. “It’s all the same for us. Again, whether you define it as intoxication or not, if you’ve had several drinks, especially within 30 minutes or an hour, it impairs your ability to drive safely,” Sergeant Burkett said. So of which he emphasized, “We have troopers all over the state who are trained,” explaining that they will be out during the holidays and will help clear the roads of impaired drivers.

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