SAFETY

The summer is a time for fun and travel, but many people oftentimes forget to take caution this time of year. For young adult drivers attending high school and college, the summer is a time to catch up and relax with friends. Families, likewise, do the same. Sadly though, there have been fatal accidents in which distracted or impaired driving was a factor. Deaths that could have been prevented still serve to improve public appreciation for cautious driving.

As you have read, texting and driving is being strictly policed more than ever. The laws are enforced for the noble purpose of preventing future tragedies. The National Transportation Safety Board is committed to this same purpose. They are currently urging states to lower the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for DUI arrests from .08 percent to .05 percent. The NTSB published a report on a study that found that vision becomes impaired when a BAC reaches .05 percent.

Along with the alcoholic beverage industry, we encourage you to be responsible, not only to yourself, but to others as well. As much as impaired driving contributes to traffic accidents, so does distracted driving. As mentioned earlier, summer is a time to relax and have fun with friends. It's a time to hit the beach, embark on road trips, and make the most of the summer season. "The more, the merrier," we often say when we're planning or attending a social function. Cars are loaded up to maximum passenger capacity, and off they go, down the residential streets and onto the highway. Though these trips are planned with the best intentions, they sometimes end tragically.

Did you know 28 states enforce a passenger limit for drivers under the ages of 21, 20 or 19, dependent upon the state? These states allow drivers with restricted licenses to have only one passenger in the car with them. An additional 15 states, along with Washington D.C., prohibit such drivers from driving with a passenger at all.

Louisiana prohibits such drivers from driving with a passenger between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5 a.m., while Iowa allows parents to impose on their children whatever driving restrictions they see fit.

Florida, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have all yet to enforce any passenger limit restrictions. These states may follow in the footsteps of the states that do have passenger limits in place for novice drivers, so if you live in a state that does not currently enforce passenger limits, make sure you know if they do.