December 2018 Press Release


Drunk & drug-IMPAIRED DriVing is Dangerous DriVing

If You Feel Different You Drive Different December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Month. Drunk and drug-impaired driving is a problem on America’s highways. Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 of higher). Driving after drinking is deadly. Yet it still continues to happen across the United States. Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes and drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and illegal drugs may cause impairment alone or in combination with each other and/or with alcohol. Whether by drugs — legal or illegal — alcohol, or a combination of both drugs and alcohol, impaired driving puts the driver, their passengers, and other road users at risk. It doesn’t matter what term is used, if a person is high, stoned, wasted, or drunk, he or she is impaired. It’s that simple. If you are impaired by drugs or alcohol and thinking about driving, pass your keys on to a sober driver. If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. In recent years, State actions to legalize the use of marijuana for medical and recreational use have increased concern over potential risks of driving impaired by marijuana. Other than alcohol, it is the drug that is most frequently found in drivers’ systems after a vehicle crash. If you think driving while high won’t affect you, you are wrong: It has been proven that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects—slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance, and makes it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane. This is a deadly combination. If you drive while impaired, you could get arrested, or worse—be involved in a traffic crash that causes serious injury or death. Charges range from misdemeanors to felony offenses, and penalties for impaired driving can include driver’s license suspension, fines, and jail time. A first-time offense can cost the driver upwards of $10,000 in fines and legal fees. Take steps to prevent drunk driving:
  • If you will be drinking, plan on not driving. Plan your safe ride home before you start the party. Designate a sober driver ahead of time.
  • If you drink, do not drive for any reason. Call a taxi or a ride service, phone a sober friend or family member. Download NHTSA’s SaferRide app to help you call a friend or family member, pinpoint your location, and arrange to be picked up.
  • If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange a sober ride home.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.