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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Driving While Drunk, Drugged or Distracted--Impaired Driving

This is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. I want to share some information and links, not only on drunk and drugged driving, but also driving while distracted, which is also a serious problem.

Here is some information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on impaired driving:

Impaired driving is dangerous and is the cause of more than half of all car crashes. It means operating a motor vehicle while

- Affected by alcohol
- Affected by illegal or legal drugs
- Too sleepy
- Distracted, such as using a cell phone or texting
- Having a medical condition which affects your driving

For your safety and the safety of others, do not drive while impaired. Have someone else drive you or take public transportation when you cannot drive. If you need to take a call or send a text message, pull over.

If you doubt that impaired driving is a problem, here are some statistics that illuminate how serious the problem really is:

Some statistics on distracted driving:
In 2008, almost 20 percent of all crashes in the year involved some type of distraction. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - NHTSA).

Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)

The younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

Some statistics on drugged/drunk driving:
In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Of the 1,347 traffic fatalities among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2008, about one out of every six (16%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver. (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol. (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

I found a great publication from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with suggestions for party planning in order to have a safe holiday season. Check out this link: Party Planning Tips for an Alcohol-Safe and Drug-Free Holiday Season to Remember

Here are some links to some other useful web sites:

Distractions in Everyday Driving (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety) – PDF

Impaired Driving (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

ABCs of BAC: A Guide to Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration and Alcohol Impairment (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) - PDF

Drugged Driving (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Some Medications and Driving Don't Mix (Food and Drug Administration)

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