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The holiday season is a time for celebrating with loved ones. Unfortunately, those celebrations can lead to deadly crashes due to impaired drivers.

Thanksgiving through News Year’s Day is one of the deadliest times on our roadways. During December 2017, 885 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Just as troubling, data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that almost 900,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 20 drove under the influence of alcohol last year.

Because of the high number of impaired accidents in December, every president of the United States since 1981 has demonstrated the commitment to preventing impaired driving by proclaiming December as National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month or, more recently, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The 2018 National Impaired Driving Prevention Month Proclamation is committed to raising public awareness about the dangers of impaired driving, and supporting innovative ways of reducing related fatalities.

Our three coalitions work to create safer communities by preventing adolescent drinking, marijuana use and prescription drug abuse. This holiday season, we’d like to offer four easy ways you can help ensure safe roadways this month:

1. Always plan ahead for a sober driver, using a taxi, public transformation or an app like Uber. If you decide on a designated driver, have cash and the local taxi’s information just in case.

2. Don’t let someone behind the wheel who is impaired. Calmly talk to the driver and explain that you don’t want them to hurt themselves or others. If you can, try to take their keys. If all else fails, call the police. It’s better to have the police handle the situation and lead to a possible arrest than to have your friend injure or kill themselves or someone else.

3. When you’re on the road, call 911 to report a suspected impaired driver. Stay away from the car and take note of the license place and car color and model. Call the police to give them the car information and location and direction the car is headed.

4. Lastly, talk to your loved ones about the dangers of impaired drinking. Talking to your loved ones about the dangers about drunk driving is important year round, but you can use the National Impaired Driving Prevention Month as a starting point for the conversation. Inform them of the statistics and how important sober driving is.

4 tips to keep the roads safe during National Impaired Driving Prevention Month Blog

Impaired driving, whether through the use of alcohol, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, illegal drugs or other means, puts your life and those of others at significant risk. Let’s work together to keep our community safe and save lives this holiday season.