National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

November 30, 2022Firm News

A police officer gives a woman a breathalyzer test for drunk driving.

In the month of December, individually, we often look forward to celebrating the holidays with our friends and family. However, intoxicated driving is particularly risky in December. That’s why the month of December this year, for the 42nd year in a row, has been designated as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Let’s take a closer look at what we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe this holiday season. 

Drunk Driving Statistics

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 839 fatalities associated with alcohol-related collisions in the month of December 2018. On December 24 and 31, 2018, nearly half of all road fatalities were caused by drunk driving, which is roughly double the normal percentage of accidents caused by drunk driving.  
  • In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day 2019, 210 people lost their lives in collisions caused by intoxicated drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). Due to their own actions or those of someone they came into contact with, 210 persons lost their lives in one week as a result of drinking alcohol before driving.
  • In the U.S. more than 10,000 people die in drunk driving collisions annually. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that motor vehicle accidents, which result in about 32,000 fatalities and around million nonfatal injuries yearly, are the leading cause of mortality and nonfatal injuries among adolescents in the United States. 
  • It’s essential to remember that many other substances, including marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and even prescription or over-the-counter medications, can impair driving and contribute to motor vehicle accidents. 

Impaired Driving Prevention

The good news is that prevention works. Make sure you and others are aware of the risks of drunk driving and take safety precautions when meeting this holiday season. 

  • We can start with the science. There are no shortcuts to “sobering up” and preparing to drive; one is less coordinated and slower to react after drinking than one would be if one had not been drinking.
  • Coffee is not a miracle cure. Additionally, cutting back or stopping one or more hours before a planned drive does not mean that alcohol’s effects have “worn off.”
  • We can plan ahead so there won’t be any potentially awkward or ill-advised “in the moment” interactions. 
  • Be upfront and honest with your kids, friends, family, and coworkers about expectations of behavior and safe choices when attending Christmas parties, whether they occur in someone’s home (where some believe the rules are a little more flexible) or at a public venue.
  • Additionally, encourage ride-sharing programs and inquire about your guests’ transportation needs if you’re planning an event where alcohol will be provided. Planning will prevent you from making an impulsive decision to drive.

Talk With Your Kids About Drinking and Driving

Parents and caregivers may feel even more pressure because many kids are home from school for the holidays and want to interact with their friends. Give your children opportunities for safe socialization by:

  •  You and your child can discuss the dangers of underage alcohol and drug use by setting expectations for their behavior, particularly when it’s mixed with driving. The SAMHSA campaign “Talk. They Hear You.” helps parents and caregivers start these conversations and includes a new mobile app.
  • Providing educational materials for children that detail the facts and effects of drinking and driving
  •  Set curfews and offer to drive or pick up young people if they go to parties. Even if your child doesn’t drink, it may be challenging to say no to a peer driving while inebriated.
  •  Guaranteeing drug-free environments at events and planning driving schedules with the parents of their friends.

This holiday season, every one of us has the power to encourage the safety of the people we know and care about as they travel to and from their celebrations. So speak up about what constitutes proper and improper conduct, not just with respect to alcohol consumption but also about other substances that can endanger our ability to go home safely. And remember, if you or a loved one become injured due to a driver who was impaired, do not hesitate to contact an experienced St. Louis drunk driving personal injury attorney at Goldblatt + Singer. Call (314) 231-4100 or contact us online to receive your free, no-obligation, confidential consultation. 



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