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The Reward of Sober Driving

Through the vacation season, many people sit up for get-togethers with family and friends. Sadly, holidays can be a harmful time for alcohol- and drug-related visitors incidents. SAMHSA is observing Nationwide Impaired Driving Prevention Month in December to boost consciousness of this lethal but preventable downside.

Because the early Nineteen Eighties, public coverage adjustments, faculty and neighborhood interventions, and grassroots advocacy have considerably decreased alcohol-related driving fatalities. But, driving impaired (by alcohol or different medication) continues to take lives.

  • About 30 % of all visitors fatalities in the USA contain a driver who’s alcohol impaired. Every day, about 32 individuals in the USA die in a crash wherein no less than one driver is alcohol impaired. That’s one individual each 45 minutes.1,2
  • 56 % of drivers who’re significantly injured or killed in a crash examined constructive for no less than one drug, in response to preliminary knowledge from an ongoing examine. 3,4

Alcohol, Different Medicine, and Drugs

We all know lots about how alcohol impairs the power to drive — affecting our imaginative and prescient, response instances, judgement, and talent to multi-task. Driving underneath the affect of different medication can have equally lethal penalties. 5,6

  • Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs may cause excessive drowsiness, dizziness, and different unwanted effects. If there’s a warning on the medicine about “working heavy equipment,” that features driving a car.
  • Marijuana can gradual response time, impair judgment of time and distance, and reduce coordination.
  • Opioids may cause drowsiness and impair cognitive perform.
  • Cocaine and methamphetamines can result in aggressive and reckless driving.

It’s unlawful in all places in the USA to drive inebriated, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or any probably impairing drug. 7

  • This consists of prescribed and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Even in states the place marijuana legal guidelines have modified, it’s nonetheless unlawful to drive underneath the affect of that drug.

What You Can Do

All of us need to rejoice safely. That begins with renewing our dedication to sober driving and supporting our family members and communities to do the identical. Only one drink (or substance) can have an effect on an individual’s driving.

  • For those who’re attending a gathering the place alcohol or different substances might be served, plan beforehand to get house safely.
    • You may designate a sober driver or organize for a taxi or journey share (to and out of your vacation spot).
    • Speak prematurely with family and friends about planning to forestall impaired driving.
  • Don’t let others get behind the wheel in the event that they’re underneath the affect.
    • Take their keys and organize a sober journey house or have them keep the night time.
  • For those who host a celebration the place alcohol or different substances might be served:
    • Ask your company to make a plan to get house safely.
    • Supply substance-free drinks.
    • Ensure that all company go away with a sober driver.
  • At all times put on a seat belt.
    • Make it possible for everybody within the car wears a seat belt.
  • For those who see an impaired driver on the street, pull over and call native regulation enforcement.

For the Youngsters in Your Life

Speak along with your youngsters about impaired driving.

  • Allow them to know:
    • It’s by no means okay to get behind the wheel of a motorcar whereas underneath the affect.
    • Getting in a automotive with somebody who has been ingesting or utilizing medication is harmful.
  • Assist youngsters plan an exit technique, to keep away from accepting a journey from somebody underneath the affect.


This vacation season — and all yr lengthy — we every play a task in stopping impaired driving and its tragic penalties. Sober driving is a present that we are able to every give to ourselves and one another.

1Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Drunk Driving. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.

2Nationwide Middle for Statistics and Evaluation (2022, April). Alcohol-impaired driving: 2020 knowledge (Visitors Security Information. Report No. DOT HS 813 294). Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. (PDF | 541 KB)

3Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Drug-Impaired Driving. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.

4 Workplace of Behavioral Security Analysis. (2021, June). Replace to particular reviews on visitors security through the COVID-19 public well being emergency: Fourth quarter knowledge (Report No. DOT HS 813 135). Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration.

5 Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse, Nationwide Institutes of Well being, U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies. (2019, December). Drugged Driving DrugFacts. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.

6Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Drug-Impaired Driving. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.

7 Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Drug-Impaired Driving. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.



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