There were 10,511 deaths from drunk-driving crashes in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2017, 29% of motor vehicle traffic fatalities were caused by drunk driving, where 220 of the victims were children age 14 and under. December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, and while knowing the terrifying statistics that result from drunk driving is important, it’s action that makes all the difference in these numbers.
Ways to Prevent Impaired Driving
Drugs like marijuana and cocaine are involved in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths, and almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes every day. While these deaths have fallen over the last three decades, claiming over 10,000 lives a year is unacceptable for what are completely avoidable incidents.
As the holiday season descends and the rate of drunk and drugged driving accidents ramp up, take the time to think smart, drive smart, and follow these tips for preventing a fatal crash, not only on special occasions but every day:
- Designate a sober driver. The best person in your group to drive you home is not the least intoxicated person, it’s the person who has not had a drop of alcohol at all. Designate a sober driver before your outing begins and make sure they stick to their promise.
- Pace yourself. If you know you’re going to be driving home but you also know you want to have a drink, pace yourself. Allow one hour between drinks, and remember that it takes at least an hour to get rid of a one drink from your body, whether that’s a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 1-ounce shot of liquor, or a 12-ounce beer.
- Set limits. When you plan to imbibe, set a limit for yourself, like two drinks, then two hours of water and sobering up before you head onto the streets. Also have non-alcoholic beverages and food to temper the alcohol.
- Sober up. If you have had too much to drink or indulged in drugs, stay where you are and don’t get behind the wheel. If that means you have to crash where you are, do it, just so you can stay safe on the roads and protect those around you from your carelessness.
- Call a ride. Call a cab, an Uber, or a friend or neighbor to drive you to your next destination. Better yet, take a ride to your destination and leave your car keys at home so you’re not tempted at all to start driving when your mind and body and reflexes are incapable.
- Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs. If you are on prescription medication that advises you to avoid drinking when on the drug, follow doctor’s orders.
- Don’t ride with someone who is impaired. Take the time to evaluate whether someone has had too much to drink before you get in the passenger seat of their vehicle.
Drive Smart, Drive Sober
Drunk and drugged driving impairs judgment and delays reaction times. Mix impairment with distraction, like using a cell phone or messing with the radio, and you are a double deadly threat to other motorists when you’re behind the wheel.
Celebrate responsibly. Drive responsibly. Be safe on Christmas, New Year’s, and every day. If you have been involved in a drunk driving car accident or lost a loved one in a fatal crash, contact David C. Femminineo, Michigan car accident lawyer in Macomb County to schedule your consultation.