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December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

After the rush of shopping and decorating concludes, many of us are now looking to secure our holiday and New Year’s Eve plans. We look forward to celebrating what 2014 has brought to our family and friends and hope the New Year graces us with health and happiness. While all the parties can be fun and festive, it is also important to keep you and your loved ones’ safety in mind.

As of recently, the month of December has been proclaimed National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. A proclamation was made by President Obama stating, “All Americans deserve to live long and full lives, and every child should have the chance to seize his or her future. But throughout our Nation, too many lives are tragically cut short in traffic crashes involving drunk, drugged, or distracted driving. Impaired driving not only puts the driver at risk -- it threatens the lives of passengers and all others who share the road, and every year it causes the deaths of thousands of loved ones. This month, and especially during the holiday season, we dedicate ourselves to driving safely and responsibly, and to promoting these behaviors among our family and friends.”

Beginning December 12-January 1, states and local communities are participating in the National Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign.  This campaign strives to increase awareness to all the dangers of driving impairments--in all forms. Many may think this campaign is only directed toward drunk driving, but it also strives to warn Americans of the increase in individuals operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, prescription drugs and over-the counter medications. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 10.3 million people admitted to driving under the influence of a drug in the past year.

So what is being done?

The National Transportation Board has recently spelled out their most recent milestones in ending this preventable matter:

•    In May 2012, they held a forum to identify the most effective data-driven, science-based actions needed to "reach zero" crashes resulting from substance-impaired driving.

•    In November 2012, they included Eliminate Substance-Impaired Driving among our ten top transportation safety priorities on the NTSB 2013 Most Wanted List. Later that month, they issued a series of recommendations calling for improved data collection.

•    In December 2012, they issued a special investigation report on wrong-way driving that revealed 60 percent of fatal wrong-way car crashes involve impaired drivers; recommendations were issued calling for expanded use of technology such as ignition interlocks.

This campaign is extremely imperative as far too many lives have been cut short because someone was impaired behind the wheel. Whether you are attending or hosting a party, please be responsible when getting behind the wheel or even being a passenger. If you feel someone is too impaired to drive, do not be afraid to step in and offer an alternative way home. Be safe this holiday season!

For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law.

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