Since 1981, every President of the United States has declared the month of December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month (formally National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month).
During the month of December, families, educators, health care providers, and community leaders are urged to educate young people about the dangers of drinking or using drugs and getting behind the wheel.
December was chosen as the month to promote responsible decision-making and drug-free living because of the increase in fatalities that involve impaired drives during the holiday season. These fatalities and wrecks tend to happen from a combination of severe weather in some states with holiday parties during which alcohol is served.
In 2016, statistics showed that 29 people in the United States die in impaired vehicle crashes a day, claiming more than 10,000 lives per year.
According to the most recent cost data (2010), the deaths and damages contributed to a cost of over $44 billion dollars per year.
If you plan on drinking during the holiday season or attend parties with alcohol, use the following tips:
- ·Do not drink or use drugs and drive
- ·Make plans beforehand for a designated driver or a ride if you are drinking
- ·Never let anyone who is impaired to get behind the wheel
- ·Put away your phone and other distractions when driving
- ·If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement
- ·Always wear your seat belt—it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
There are many ways throughout the month of December, as well as throughout the year, to bring awareness to National Impaired Driving Prevention.
Wearing or decorating with red awareness ribbons also helps support the cause. You can purchase awareness ribbons here.
“During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, let us pledge to always drive sober and alert and to avoid distractions behind the wheel. Together, we can help ensure all our people are able to enjoy the holiday spirit and make memories with those they care about while safeguarding the well-being of everyone on the road.” – Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation -- National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, 2015