December is a month marked with celebrations and social occasions, even as we navigate the coronavirus pandemic. While we may have less on our calendars than in previous years, we still should not drop our guard on the road when it comes to drunk drivers. Because of accident trends around this time of year, December is also designated National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are two of the most dangerous nights to be on the road. In 2018, 108 people died on those two days alone in crashes involving a drunk driver, accounting for nearly half of total traffic deaths.
Florida had the third-highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2018, behind Texas and California, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A total of 3,133 people died in car accidents in Florida in 2018, with 814 (26%) of those caused by drunk driving.
Alcohol is not the only abused substance involved in impaired car crashes. In 2017, 45% of the drivers killed in fatal crashes who were tested for drugs, tested positive. Whether a person obtains the drug legally or not, driving under the influence of drugs is also dangerous and illegal.
Impaired driving is 100% preventable. We all have a part in keeping our community’s roads safe. Taking the actions below are how you can help.
Plan Ahead to Prevent Holiday Drunk Driving
Avoiding drinking and driving can be as simple as making a plan and sticking to it. Here are some tips to help you get to and from a holiday event safely:
- Know how you are going to get home from a holiday event before it starts. It can be as simple as designating a sober driver or you can leave your car keys at home and plan to use a rideshare service at the end of the night.
- If you choose to be the designated driver, remain true to your word and stay sober so everyone in your vehicle can get home safely.
- If your plans change and you choose to drink, do not drive under any circumstances. Find a new way to get home safely.
- Encourage your friends and family to also have a plan. It is almost impossible for anyone to come up with a valid reason to drink and drive when we have services like Uber and Lyft available with the touch of a button.
- Plan to stay home. Staying off of the roads is a guaranteed way to avoid car accidents on major holidays.
Speak Up to Help Stop Impaired Driving
Impaired driving is illegal because alcohol and drugs impact the brain in ways that can blur vision, deteriorate reaction time, degrade coordination, and slow reflexes, among a long list of other effects. Here are ways to help prevent others from driving under the influence:
- If you are going to be the host of a holiday gathering, talk to all of your guests to ensure they have a sober driver at the end of the night.
- Take keys away from friends and family members who are about to drive impaired. Help them make plans to get home safely. No matter the cost of their ride home, it does not amount to the risk they take by driving under the influence.
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, call local law enforcement immediately. Your phone call could save the life of the drunk driver and everyone else sharing the road.
Focus on Family First
Give the gift of safety this season and keep your focus on family first. If we all do our part to keep impaired drivers off of the roads over the holidays, we can make an impact on keeping our friends and family out of harm’s way.
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, including impaired driving, we are here to help with your questions. Call our team for a free consultation at (305) 662-6178.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Retrieved from: https://www.nhtsa.gov/drunk-driving/drive-sober-or-get-pulled-over-1
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Drunk Driving. Retrieved from: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving
MADD (2019, December 19). December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Retrieved from: https://www.madd.org/december-is-national-impaired-driving-prevention-month/