5demayo-posters-calendar-pr(April 29, 2014) – Cinco de Mayo in the United States has become synonymous not only with tacos, sombreros, and piñatas, but also with margaritas, tequila, and beer. Since alcohol is such a big part of many Cinco de Mayo festivities, it’s no surprise that drunk driving is especially high on May 5th.Ocean City police are urging citizens to designate a sober driver or plan another sober ride home before heading to the bars this Cinco de Mayo.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 233 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on Cinco de Mayo (6 p.m. May 4th to 5:59 a.m. May 6th) from 2008 to 2012.  In 2012, almost half (45 percent) of all traffic crash fatalities on Cinco de Mayo involved drunk driving.

“Some people have this misconception that they can drink a little, and drive safely,” said Chief Ross Buzzuro, “but that’s just not true. Everyone needs to remember that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, and there’s never an excuse for it.”

Every 51 minutes in 2012, someone was killed in a drunk driving crash in the United States, and 89 of those fatalities were around Cinco de Mayo, according to the NHTSA. In fact, from 2011 to 2012, the number of people killed in drunk driving crashes on Cinco de Mayo more than doubled. In all fatal crashes in 2012, seventy-one percent of the drunk drivers involved had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .15 or higher—almost twice the legal limit.

Ocean City police reminds all citizens that plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo to designate a sober driver beforehand or call a sober friend to ensure a safe ride home. Citizens are also encouraged to call one of the many local taxi companies or ride the municipal bus.