December: National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Getting drunk drivers off the roads saves lives

Every day, 28 people in the U.S. die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 53 minutes.* Traffic fatalities that involve impaired drivers increase significantly during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods – times of celebration and some of the busiest times on the nation’s roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds us to celebrate safely this holiday season, and to raise awareness on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the month of December is recognized as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

Drugged or drunk driving can have tragic consequences. In December of 2015, drunk driving crashes resulted in 840 deaths. This December, Americans are encouraged to help prevent tragedy before it strikes, by ensuring that family members and friends stay safe, sober, and drug-free on the road.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) provides these tips to help ensure everyone’s safety this holiday season: Make sure to always plan ahead for a safe way home, especially if your plans involve alcohol. Even one too many drinks increases the risk of a crash – it’s just not worth it. If you’ve been drinking, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation. If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Your actions may save someone’s life. Plan ahead for a sober designated driver, and make sure everyone agrees ahead of time.

If you are faced with a situation where someone who’s impaired is trying to drive here are some tips on how to stop them:

  • Be as non-confrontational as possible.
  • Suggest alternate ways of getting to their destination – a cab, a sober driver, public transportation.
  • Remember that the person you are talking to is impaired – talk a bit more slowly and explain things more fully than if you were speaking to a sober person.
  • Explain that you don’t want them to drive because you care and you don’t want them to hurt themselves or others.
  • Suggest that they sleep over.
  • Enlist a friend to help you or to act as moral support – it’s more difficult to say “no” to two or more people than one.
  • If possible, get the person’s keys. It is far easier to persuade the potential driver when you hold this leverage.
  • If all else fails, call law enforcement. It’s better to have a friend arrested than injured or killed.

And, finally, just because you made the right decision to drive sober, others on the road may not have. Always buckle up, drive with caution, and don’t hesitate to call 911 to report a suspected drunk driver. It is your business. Getting drunk drivers off the roads saves lives.

* Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This friendly message is thanks to Drug Free Osage County.


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