December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, and traffic safety organizations around the country are stepping up advertising to remind citizens of the hazards of drinking and driving.
In 2011, a person died every 53 minutes from a motor vehicle crash that involved an alcohol-impaired driver, totaling 9,878 deaths in the United States. These preventable accidents cost each adult in the United States approximately $500 per year for a total of $132 billion, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults drove impaired 112 million times in 2010 – almost 300,000 incidents each day. In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunken driving accidents, and over half of those children were riding in the vehicle with the drunken driver.
Who has the highest risk?
- Young people:
- Among all drivers involved in fatal crashes with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than the legal limit of .08%, one out of three were between 21 and 41 years old.
- Twenty-eight percent of motorcyclists killed in fatal accidents in 2010 had a BAC of .08% or higher.
- Drivers with prior convictions for driving while impaired:
- Repeat offenders account for approximately one-third of all drunken driving arrests, crashes, injuries and deaths.
Make responsible choices to prevent injuries and death
Injuries and death caused by drunken driving can be prevented and everyone can do their part to stay safe. Ways to decrease your chances of being in an alcohol-impaired crash include:
- Designating a sober driver before you begin to drink
- If you don’t have a designated driver, take a cab or public transportation
- Don’t let your friends drive impaired – take away their keys
When you get behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcoholic beverages, you are a danger to yourself and others on the road. Be responsible for your actions and encourage others to do the same.
Submitted by Stephanie Borg