December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about the consequences of driving under the influence. The month of December was chosen to raise awareness because it’s at this time of the year that our nation’s roadways are at their busiest.
People travel all over to attend social events and holiday parties that involve alcohol. There is also an increase in traffic from the typical holiday traveling to visit friends and relatives. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that this increase results in more DUIs and fatal drunk-driving accidents.
Impaired Fatal Traffic Accident Stats
Let’s take a look at a few sobering statistics that everyone should be familiar with.
- Every day, nearly 30 people in the U.S. die in traffic accidents that involve an alcohol-impaired driver, according to the CDC.
- During the Christmas period, an average of 45 fatalities per day involve an alcohol-impaired driver. For New Year’s, the numbers rise to 54 each day, according to the NHTSA.
- The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that 40% of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers.
Tips For A Safe Holiday Season
As you look forward to celebrating the holiday season in the coming month, it’s imperative that you make smart choices. Under no circumstances is driving under the influence responsible or acceptable. Here are a few tips to keep in mind throughout the holiday season.
- Remember your limits. If you’re not comfortable attending a holiday function where alcohol will be present, stay true to yourself and kindly turn down the offer. You shouldn’t feel forced to go anywhere just because it’s the holidays.
- Plan ahead. Have an exit strategy in place if you do decide to attend an event. This way, if you start to feel uncomfortable, you’ll know what to do.
- Drive yourself. The person you can count on right now is yourself. It’s a good idea to drive so that you can leave when you want, and you don’t have to rely on someone else to get you home. Other ideas include bringing money to use public transportation, or having a friend on call to take you home.
- Bring a trusted friend. Bring along a trusted friend to ride with you. They may help you feel more comfortable at the social gathering and motivate you to make smart choices.
- Have a drink (non-alcoholic). When you walk in, accept an alcohol-free drink. This will make you feel more comfortable, and it stops people from asking you if they can get you something. Sometimes, having nothing in your hands can make you feel more awkward.
Spread the message about National Drug and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. Drinking and driving is something that should not be tolerated just because it’s the holiday season.
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