As we hit the roads this holiday season, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To this end, several federal agencies are working together to sponsor National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in December. Along with increased enforcement efforts to get drunk and drugged drivers off the roads, this month is designed to inform drivers about how to prevent tragic accidents as we celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year.
Know the Dangers
Despite years of anti-drunk driving campaigns, fatal crashes still happen every day in the United States. With more drivers on the road during the holidays, drunk and drugged driving fatalities tend to increase during the month of December. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following statistics prove that impaired driving is still a huge problem in this country:
- Every day, almost 30 people die in drunk driving crashed in the U.S.
- The annual costs of drunk driving crashes are nearly $60 billion.
- 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths involved alcohol in 2010.
- Drugs other than alcohol account for 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths.
Remember that drunk driving is not a thing of the past and, in fact, with the increase in drugged driving, the roads may be more dangerous than ever.
What You Can Do
While there may not be much you can do to prevent strangers from drinking and driving this December, you can still make a difference for your friends and family. Make a promise to take the following actions this month:
- Designate a sober driver before the celebrations begin.
- Never serve or supply alcohol to those under the legal age of 21—not even on New Year’s Eve.
- Understand that drugged driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving and even certain prescription drugs can impair driving ability.
- Host safe parties throughout the month of December by offering non-alcoholic drinks, providing sober rides home, and cutting off alcohol for the last hour of the party.
If everybody does their part this month to lower rates of impaired driving, the roads will be safer for all of us to enjoy the season.
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