National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
December was chosen as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month for one simple reason. Both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall in December. These are two of the most dangerous drunk-driving dates of the year. More people travel and attend parties and events where alcohol is served in December. Drunk-driving traffic fatalities and injuries escalate during the last month of the year.
Why Driving While Impaired Is So Dangerous
Every day in the U.S., approximately 28 people die in drunk-driving traffic crashes – one every 52 minutes – as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 10,142 people were killed in preventable alcohol-impaired driving accidents. Alcohol reduces brain function and impairs muscle coordination, mental processes, and reasoning. At a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08:
- Muscle coordination is reduced, affecting speech, vision, hearing, and reaction time.
- Danger is more difficult to detect.
- Self-control, reasoning, memory, and judgment are impaired.
Driving while impaired by drugs is as dangerous as drunk driving. It doesn’t matter if the substance is legal or illegal. Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can slow reaction time, decrease motor coordination, and impair judgment behind the wheel of a car. Marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in several states. Studies have found a direct relationship between a concentration of THC in the blood and impaired driving ability, as reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Recent Trends in Impaired Driving
- Traffic fatalities involving alcohol were up by 9% in 2020 over the previous year, as reported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
- This increase is particularly alarming in light of the fact that vehicle miles traveled dropped by 13% in 2020, due to the global pandemic.
- The 2020 traffic fatality rate was 1.37 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled – up from 1.11 the previous year, as stated in a NHTSA press release.
- Impaired driving, speeding, and failure to wear a seat belt were the main behaviors that drove the increase in traffic fatalities during 2020, based on NHTSA analysis.
- 56% of drivers involved in serious injury and fatal accidents tested positive for at least one drug, based on studied trauma centers, October through December 2020, according to NHTSA.
What Individuals and Organizations Can Do to Promote National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
The new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act calls for a new standard from NHTSA for advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology to be a feature in new vehicles, as listed in a presidential proclamation. The purpose of this technology would be to help keep impaired drivers from endangering innocent people by driving drunk. Individuals can promote National Impaired Driving Prevention Month by pledging never to drive impaired, and to help deter others from doing so. During December and throughout the year, it is important to have a plan in place for a safe ride home before drinking or becoming impaired in any way. This plan could include having a designated driver, taking a cab, bus, or train, or using a rideshare app, such as Uber or Lyft.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by an impaired driver, call The Husband and Wife Law Team at (602) 457-6222. Our firm was founded in 1996. The Husband and Wife Law Team has a history of success for our clients. Mark and Alexis Breyer were named among the Top Phoenix Valley personal injury lawyers by North Valley Magazine for 2020. Our attorneys have been awarded membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, among the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the U.S.
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