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'Know your limit' and choose a safe way to travel into the New Year

SACRAMENTO – New Year’s is fast approaching. As you prepare to celebrate with friends and family, the Office of Traffic Safety and Caltrans want everyone to stay safe on the road and enjoy the holiday season. Here are some ways to know your limit and “Go Safely” into the new year.

It is important to know how alcohol affects you. In California, it is illegal to get behind the wheel with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08% or higher. BAC is a measure of your impairment and depends on a variety of factors including height, weight, food intake, drug and/or medication use, fatigue and how fast alcohol is consumed.

Based on the number of drinks consumed, gender and body weight, it is estimated that an average of two drinks by a 120-pound female would lead to a BAC over the legal limit, while an average of three drinks by a 180-pound male would lead to a BAC over the legal limit.

Even one drink affects your ability to drive and there is no quick fix to bringing down your BAC. Driving under the influence (DUI) can cost you. The average fine for a first-time DUI is more than $13,500 in personal and legal fees combined.

Drinking and driving is dangerous and could be deadly. It is critical for everyone to be responsible and plan ahead. In 2020, nearly 12,000 people died in drunk-driving crashes in the U.S., including 1,159, or nearly 10% of all drunk-driving fatalities, in California.

Everyone can make it to and from their destinations safely during the holidays by having a game plan. Designate a sober driver or schedule a ride share to get home safely. If hosting a party, do not let friends or family drive impaired. Make sure that all guests leave with a sober driver.

Driving under the influence of any substance that affects one’s ability to drive safely is illegal. Over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, illicit drugs and marijuana can all impair one’s ability to drive. If someone is in their own car and suspects that another driver may be driving impaired, they should call 911. That call could save a life.

When traveling during the holidays, remember to also be Work Zone Alert to protect those working on California’s highways. Be careful when passing a work zone and obey all road signs. If there are flashing amber lights ahead, move over a lane. If unable to do so safely, slow down. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also the law. The Move Over Law exists to provide a safer environment when maintenance and emergency vehicles, and tow trucks are stopped along the highways, close to fast moving traffic. Drivers can help them get home safely to their families.

The Office of Traffic Safety and Caltrans wish everyone a safe holiday season and a happy New Year. Go Safely, California. For more safety tips, visit

Submitted by Office of Traffic Safety and Caltrans.


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