New York Injury Law Blog

December Is Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Every day, thousands of New Yorkers get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs – both illicit and prescribed.

The White House is trying to do something about that by designating December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The goal is to raise awareness of all types of impaired motoring – drunk driving, distracted driving and drugged driving.

Drivers who are impaired by alcohol or other drugs are a public health hazard to themselves and others. Hundreds of people are injured and killed each year in New York accidents caused by impaired drivers.

Here is a portion of the Presidential Proclamation:

As Americans gather with friends and family to share in the holiday season, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month reminds us of the importance of celebrating safely.

Every year, accidents involving drunk, drugged, or distracted driving claim thousands of lives, leaving families to face the heartbreak of losing a loved one. We stand with all those who have known the tragic consequences of drugged or drunk driving, and we rededicate ourselves to preventing it this December and throughout the year.

Alcohol and drugs present serious risks to all drivers. It is well known that drugs, including some prescription medications, can impair the skills necessary for safe and responsible driving. Distractions like using mobile phones and other electronics behind the wheel also make our roads more hazardous. To reduce the prevalence of impaired driving, my administration is working to raise public awareness, improve impaired driving screening procedures, and ensure law enforcement officers get the training they need.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one in three drivers who were killed in a motor vehicle crash in 2010 with known test results tested positive for drugs (illicit substances as well as over-the-counter and prescription medications).

In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in the United States in alcohol-impaired automobile accidents – one every 51 minutes.

Although the overall number of drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States has declined over the past six years, the involvement of drugs in fatal crashes increased by six percentage points.

Alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes cost an estimated $37 billion annually, according to the NHTSA.

Sources:

  • Office of National Drug Control Policy http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/11/30/national-impaired-driving-prevention-month

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