Buzzed driving is drunk driving

National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, or National 3D Prevention Month, is an annual designation observed in December. If you’re 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 month, or ever, do not make the mistake of getting behind the wheel. It could cost you or someone else their life.

This holiday season, the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Army Substance Abuse Program office is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the national “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving” drunk-driving-awareness campaign to help keep impaired drivers off the road. While the end of the year brings about the merriment of the holiday season, we want to make sure Americans are safe on the roads, traveling to and from parties and vacation destinations. If you plan to go out and include alcohol in your celebration, make sure you refrain from driving. Review these facts and spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving.

  • According to NHTSA, 839 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver in December 2018.
  • During the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2018 alone, there were more drunk-driving-related fatalities (285) than during any other holiday period that year.
  • Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involved drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations at or above .08. In 2018, there were 10,511 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.
  • Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah where it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .05 or higher.
  • Of the traffic fatalities in 2018 among children 14 and younger, 22% (231) occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
  • Despite the fact that it’s illegal to drive when impaired by alcohol, in 2018, one person was killed every 50 minutes by a drunk driver on our nation’s roads.
  • Men are more likely than women to be driving drunk when involved in fatal crashes. In 2018, 21% of males were drunk, compared to 14% of females.
  • In 2018, motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than any other type of motor vehicle driver (25% for motorcycle riders, 21% for passenger car drivers, 19% for light-truck drivers, and 3% for drivers of large trucks).

 

The Cost of Drunk Driving

  • On average, a DUI can set you back $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing and more.
  • The financial impact from impaired-driving crashes is devastating. Based on 2010 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes cost the United States $44 billion annually.
  • If you’re caught drinking and driving, you can face jail time. Imagine trying to explain that to your friends and Family or your place of employment.
  • Drinking and driving can cause you to lose your driver’s license and your vehicle. This could inhibit you from getting to work, resulting in lost wages and, potentially, job loss.

 

Celebrate with a Plan

Always remember to plan if you will be celebrating. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously and do not consume alcohol, not even one drink.

  • Remember that it is never OK to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement or dial 911.
  • Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and arrange to get your friend home safely.

 

For more information about the “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving” campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/drunk-driving/buzzed-driving-drunk-driving/holiday-season.

By George Suber

JBM-HH ASAP Education

Coordinator