BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This Halloween, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office to remind everyone that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween, as more pedestrians are out at night on the hunt for candy. If your night involves drinking some of the witch’s brew at a Halloween party, make sure you plan for a sober ride home. Remember—it’s never safe to drink and drive.

Because of the parties, trick-or-treating, and other festivities, Halloween night can be especially dangerous on our nation’s roads. Between 2016 and 2020, there were 129 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night. Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2020. During that same night, 11 pedestrians were killed in drunk-driving crashes.

“While you are planning your Halloween costume and making your party plans, you should also plan for a sober ride home,” said Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo. “Even one drink can impair judgement. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”

Tragically, about one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) at or above 0.08. In 2020, there were 11,654 people killed in drunk-driving crashes. Drivers should not only avoid drinking and driving, but also keep an eye out for pedestrians—whether they be children trick-or-treating or other adults who have had too much to drink.

“We want our community to have a fun night out on Halloween, but to also stay safe and make responsible choices,” Sheriff Zurlo commented. “In today’s world, there are many options available to drivers to help them get home safely if they’ve been drinking. We expect drivers to refrain from driving after drinking.”

Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is 0.05. And the costs can be financial, too—if you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, car towing, higher insurance rates, and lost wages.

Safety tips for Halloween partying:

  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve only had one drink, designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a rideshare service to get home safely.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the Sheriff’s Office at (518) 885-6761 or call 911.
  • See a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Always remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit the NHTSA website.