Every president of the United States since the year 1981 has shown a commitment to stopping impaired driving by proclaiming December as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. It is a time to raise awareness about the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
The holiday season is the time of the year when drunk and impaired driving accidents are most prevalent. Drug and alcohol use impair judgment, delay reaction times, and can result in deadly consequences when driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), drugs (for example, marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths while drunk driving accidents account for 31 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. These statistics equate to thousands of drivers and passengers losing their lives each year because of drunk and drugged driving.
If you are home or traveling during the holidays, you may be planning to go to a few parties, get-togethers, or even just to have a few drinks with the family. If you have been drinking or are under the influence of drugs, do not operate a vehicle. Remember, you are committing the crime of impaired driving whenever your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired by effects of illegal drugs, prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. If you are taking part in activities like this during this month, or EVER, do not make the mistake of getting behind the wheel. It could cost you or someone else their life.
So, why now? The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is described by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals as “One of the deadliest and most dangerous times on America’s roadways due to an increase in impaired driving.” This month we are all encouraged to drink responsibly, drive responsibly and encourage family members, friends and co-workers to be safe and responsible drivers for the holidays and beyond.
Do not drive while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
It puts not only you at risk, but everyone else around you. Think before you act. Use #Drunk&DruggedDrivingPreventionMonth or #3DPreventionMonth to post on social media.
Accidents caused by driving under the influence are preventable. This year and every year to follow, commit to act responsibly and drive safely. Here are a few tips to keep in the back of your mind as you attend holiday parties and other get-togethers this year.
- Always plan ahead. Designate a sober driver, and arrange for an alternative method to get home just in case.
- If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or even friend… Talk to your loved ones to remind them how important it is to be responsible and stay safe. Even tell your friend or loved one that they can call you for a ride, regardless of the time of day or night.
- If you are the one hosting the party, always offer a non-alcoholic option for drinks for your guests so they can still have a good time eating and drinking with everyone else!
Feel free to contact Bedford Youth and Family Services with any questions at 781-275-7727.
Or reach out to these additional resources for support:
- NHSTA’s Stop Impaired Driving website provides information to help you stop impaired driving in your community.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline – Provides referrals for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Reach them at (877) 726-4727 or visit www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline (24 hours a day/365 days a year).
- Learn to Cope – They run a peer-lead support group for parents/caregivers struggling with a member of the family who is addicted to opioids, alcohol, and/or other substances. The Lowell group is the closest one to Bedford and meets every Wednesday from 7:00-9:00 pm in the 1st Floor Conference Room at Lowell General Hospital’s Saints Campus. For more information call 508-801-3247 or visit www.learn2cope.org