Drive Sober in December: National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
By: Good2GoPublished: December 1, 2014
In 2012, drunk driving accounted for 31% of all traffic deaths. In 2009, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported that 3,952 fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs. Impaired driving is a serious problem in the U.S. – one that requires increased prevention. December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, formerly known as Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, which focuses on drunk driving and the growing problem of drugged driving.
The holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year on American roadways due to an increase in impaired driving from alcohol and other illicit substances. National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is a time to focus efforts toward educating drivers of the risks of driving impaired and reducing the prevalence of drugged driving, especially among teen and young adult drivers.
To put these risks into perspective, here are the most recent statistics on impaired driving compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Of the 1,168 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2012, 20% involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
- Of the 239 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2012, over half were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.
- In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
- Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 32 million people drove after drug or alcohol use in 2012. The highest rate of use was among 18-25 year olds.
Consequences of impaired driving
Impaired driving could cost you your car, your license and your life. Being under the influence of any drug that affects the brain and central nervous system impairs memory, reaction time, motor skills, and judgment. Impaired driving not only endangers your life, but it endangers the lives of others as well.
Some of the consequences of drunk or drugged driving include:
- Penalty fees
- Jail time
- Community service
- Loss of driving privileges
- Court and lawyer fees
- Loss of job
- Treatment/rehabilitation programs
- Increase in insurance rates
These are just a few of the many repercussions of driving under the influence. If your actions result in injuries, you would also need to factor in hospital bills, repair costs, and any additional costs if a victim decides to sue for long-term damages.
Impaired driving prevention
To help prevent drunk and drugged driving during the holidays and the rest of the year, use these helpful tips to keep you and your family safe:
- If you attend a party that is serving alcohol, limit your number of drinks and give yourself plenty of time to sober up if you are driving.
- Assign a designated driver if you are attending a holiday celebration with others. If you are a host serving alcohol, remind your guests to also have a designated driver.
- If you are with friends who show clear signs of intoxication or impairment, take away their keys so they do not attempt to drive home. You can drive them home yourself or call a cab.
- If you are hosting a party, offer alcohol-free beverages like soda, water or juice.
- Invest in a breathalyzer app that connects to your mobile device to test the BAC levels of yourself and your guests. This will let you and friends know who is too drunk to drive.
To help raise awareness about impaired driving and spread the word to your friends and loved ones, use these resources below:
- Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving
- Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
- Impair Driving Fact Sheet (CDC)
- NHTSA Impaired Driving (website)
- White House Drugged Driving Toolkit (PDF)
Good2Go wants you to drive safe – and affordably. Find out how you can protect yourself with Good2Go.com auto insurance. Get a car insurance quote today.
Photo Credit: Jimi Hera/Shutterstock