In December 2012, President Obama declared December, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. “Impaired driving” includes distracted driving, drugged driving and drunk driving. We believe that spreading this message is timely around the holidays, as many of these types of accidents occur this month. Between Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve plus all the holiday parties; drinking is inevitable. Checking where you are going on your GPS, plus talking to family on the phone more, via texting as well as calling leads to a higher rate of distracted driving.
Every year, an average of 30 million Americans drive drunk and over 10 million Americans drive while under the influence of illicit drugs. These numbers, along with the number of those driving distracted are only increasing. Organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration are a part of this month’s awareness campaign. They along with Hancock Injury Attorneys want families, educators, health care providers, and community leaders to promote responsible decision-making.
In a survey done in 2010 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it was revealed that 13.2 percent of all people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol and 4.3 percent drove under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year. It was also found that 11.8 percent of people 26 and older drove drunk, and 19.5 percent of people age 16 to 25 drove drunk. 2.8 percent of the older group drove drugged, while 11.4 percent of younger drivers did so. Also, on average, 25 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes per day during December 2010.
We encourage you to say something if someone you know has a drinking and driving habit. While it may be an uncomfortable situation, it has to be said. Prevent them in anyway possible to not drive under any influence. This could not only save their life, but also the lives of others. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Something also extremely important is setting rules and expectations for those in your family about impaired driving. By talking about these things, all members of the family could benefit from the little reminder in the back of their mind that, “this might be a bad idea.”
Sources: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, and youth.gov