Designate a Driver this Cinco de MayoToday is Cinco de Mayo, a joyous and colorful celebration that began in Mexico but which has become an American institution. The day celebrates a military victory over the French army in 1862, won despite overwhelming odds. Do you care? Probably not. But are you celebrating? Plenty of people are.

Music, food, dance, sports, and spectacle are all part of Cinco de Mayo, which has spread out from the nation’s Latino communities to embrace everyone who likes a good time. Cities all over the USA have planned festivities, and more impromptu ones will no doubt arise as people get into the spirit.

Unfortunately, drunk driving is a feature of large-scale festivals, and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. Any municipality that has a task force dedicated to DWI will be deploying it today. Police will be looking for erratic driving, stopping suspect drivers, and administering breath tests. Anyone found guilty of drunk driving will face serious penalties. Arrests will be up – guaranteed.

But today is the day, you say. You’ve got plans, and they include beer and margaritas.

That’s fine. No one says you shouldn’t go wild on Cinco de Mayo. But remember that the fun stops, and the criminal responsibility begins, as soon as you get behind the wheel after drinking. So here’s what to do:

  • Use public transport if you can. That includes taxis and rideshare services. The latter will be raising prices because it’s a holiday, so take that into account. If public transport isn’t an option, and home is too far to walk, then choose one of the following:
  • Designate a driver before the drinking starts. The “before” part is important. Call in a favor, or promise a friend that you’ll do the next festival. Do whatever you have to do, but make sure that there’s a completely sober friend to drive you home. Once you all start drinking, it’s too late, so text a friend now and organize your DD. If you’re out of luck on the designated driver front, there’s one more option:
  • Crash where you are. If you’re partying at a friend’s house, stay over. Just make sure that you’re sober before you drive tomorrow. A night’s sleep isn’t always enough to get the alcohol out of your system, depending on how much you put into it.

Remember that when you’re drinking tonight, you always have options, and that driving is not one of them.

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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