MADD, Law Enforcement Join Forces for National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
Impaired driving spikes during the holidays.
The holidays are a time to cherish moments with family and friends, creating lasting memories. However, these joyful gatherings can quickly take a tragic turn. It's not uncommon for loved ones to enjoy a few drinks during such events, but when the festivities conclude, some may make the reckless decision of getting behind the wheel while impaired.
Impaired driving poses a serious danger to all road users, significantly elevating the risk of car accidents. This month, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD) and law enforcement agencies are joining forces to raise awareness and prevent the holiday season from ending in heartbreaking tragedies.
The dangers of drinking and driving
Alcohol consumption becomes increasingly prevalent during the holiday season, leading to a higher likelihood of individuals choosing to drink and drive.
The National Road Safety Foundation reports that in 2021, there were 13,384 motor vehicle fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers, accounting for one-third of all traffic fatalities that year.
Unfortunately, these alarming statistics persist, particularly during this time of year. In December 2021 alone, there were 1,013 deaths resulting from drunk driving accidents.
Tips to celebrate safely during the holidays
To ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season, it's essential to be aware of the lingering effects of alcohol on driving skills even after the festivities have ended. Here are some valuable tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe:
- Designate a Sober Driver: Plan ahead by selecting a designated driver who will remain sober throughout the evening to provide a safe ride home for everyone.
- Explore Alternative Transportation: Opt for alternative transportation options such as taxis, buses, trains, or rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft to guarantee a safe journey back.
- Stay Overnight: Consider staying overnight at the celebration venue or arrange nearby accommodation to avoid driving under the influence.
- Host Responsibility: If you are hosting an event, take responsibility for your guests' safety by offering a variety of non-alcoholic beverages. Consider offering a variety of "mocktails" to provide festive, non-alcoholic options.
- Be Cautious the Morning After: Be mindful that alcohol may still be in your system the following morning, affecting your ability to drive safely. Allow enough time for any lingering effects to dissipate before getting behind the wheel. If you're uncertain about your sobriety, consider alternative transportation or delay driving until you are sure it's safe to do so.
The dangers of drug-impaired driving
While accidents involving alcohol are common near Christmas and New Year, another equally dangerous threat is drug-impaired driving.
Alcohol and drugs share similar effects that make it impossible for a driver to drive safely. While drugs (prescription and non-prescription) can affect a driver's vision, judgment, coordination, and reaction times, they can also make a driver very sleepy.
Battling drowsiness is difficult for anyone, but especially for a driver under the influence of drugs. Be alert on the road and look out for any of the following signs of a drowsy, drug-impaired driver:
- Difficulty concentrating, frequent blinking, and rubbing eyes.
- Forgetting or being unable to recall recent stretches of the road traveled.
- Sudden, jerky head movements, nodding, and excessive yawning.
- Drifting between lanes, following too closely, or hitting rumble strips.