Since 2012, Dec. has been designated as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. During this holiday period, the number of deaths from impaired driving rises dramatically compared to other times of the year. In 2019, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that 210 fatalities occurred in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day due to alcohol-impaired accidents.
Alcohol is not the only substance that can impair driving skills. Marijuana, other recreational drugs, opioids, methamphetamines, prescribed drugs, and over-the-counter drugs can all affect a person’s driving ability.
Drive Responsibly This Holiday Season
After the last few years of limited social interaction caused by the pandemic, families and friends are eager to celebrate the Dec. holiday season together. Many of these gatherings will involve alcoholic beverages, and in the states where its usage has been legalized, marijuana in some form may also be used.
It is important for both hosts and drivers to have a plan so they can avoid a situation that could lead to impaired driving. Never rely on coffee or slowing the pace of drinking as a way to sober up before hitting the road. Once alcohol has entered the body, there is no shortcut to getting it out. Drivers should realize that their coordination and reaction times are affected by alcohol, even if they are not showing obvious signs of intoxication.
There are several steps that can be taken to prevent impaired driving year-round and during the holiday season. As part of observing National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, families and friends should take the time to talk openly about the topic. Social media is also a great way to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of preventing impaired driving.
When attending events where alcohol will be served, have a designated driver that you can trust to refrain from imbibing. Use a taxi or ridesharing service to get home, or stay overnight rather than get behind the wheel while impaired. Hosts should provide plenty of non-alcoholic drink options and help arrange rides for guests.
Expectations should be made clear for young drivers about behavior regarding drinking, drugs, and driving and the consequences for breaking the rules. During the holidays, they will be eager to socialize with friends, so talk with other parents about substance-free parties, curfews, and coordinating driving plans so that teens do not need to drive. Be available during parties so that your teen knows they do not have to accept a ride from someone who has been drinking. There are many helpful sources parents and caregivers can consult when discussing the topic of impaired driving with young adults, including the NHTSA and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration websites.
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Those Who Have Been Injured by Impaired Drivers
Driving while impaired is against the law. If you have been injured in an impaired driving accident, one of our experienced Chester County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. will investigate and fight to hold the negligent driver accountable. Call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. With office locations in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly represent clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.