December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month

During the upcoming holiday season and throughout the rest of the year, I encourage you to become [tweetmeme]involved in your family, friends, and co-workers driving habits.   President Reagan proclaimed December as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention month, which is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Impaired Driving is No Accident.   Impaired driving incidents are “crashes,” predictable and preventable with your help!

During December everyone should consider what he or she can personally do to stop impaired driving as well as what can be done by communities to make streets and highways safe from impaired drivers.   OSHA reports that 40 percent of fatal traffic accidents involve impairment due to alcohol or drugs.   Additionally on average, one alcohol-related fatality occurs on America’s roads every 30 minutes and that the average crash costs $16,500; when a worker has an on-the-job traffic accident that results in an injury the cost can go as high as $74,000.  When a worker dies in a traffic accident costs can exceed $500,000.

How big is the problem? (source: CDC)

  • In 2006, 13,470 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • In 2007, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.  That’s less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths.   These other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol.
  • Half of the 306 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-related crashes in 2006 were riding with drivers who had a BAC level of .08 or higher.
  • In 2006, 45 children age 14 years and younger who were killed as pedestrians or bicyclists were hit by alcohol-impaired drivers.

This Holiday Season, If You Catch a Buzz, Catch a Ride — Designate a Sober Driver before All Holiday Parties ( source: NTHSA)

Americans who drink and drive after holiday parties and festivities make the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s one of the year’s most deadly and dangerous seasons due to alcohol-related crashes.   But much of this could be prevented by reminding all drivers of a few simple precautions: 

  • Plan ahead and always designate a sober driver before the holiday party or celebration begins; 
  • Don’t even think about getting behind the wheel of your vehicle if you’ve been out drinking; 
  • If you are impaired, call a taxi – use mass transit – or get a sober friend or family member to come and get you; 
  • Or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober; 
  • Remember – Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.  Take the keys and never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired; and 
  • If you are hosting a party this holiday season, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver, always offer alcohol-free beverages during the event, and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.
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