Oak Hills Womens Center

December: National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

Dr. Carolyn's Corner

December: National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

December is designated National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. With the season's festivities approaching, it's time important to be aware of this issue and the serious consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The holiday season is a time to spend with friends and family, celebrate traditions, and spread good cheer. However, when too much alcohol can upset the celebrations and ruin everything. For example, did you know there are more alcohol-related traffic fatalities during the Holiday season than any other time during the year in the United States? Factor in these statistics into your holiday:

"This year, 10,839 people will die in drunk-driving crashes - one every 50 minutes."

"Every minute, one person is injured from an alcohol-related crash."

"In Texas, 40% of total traffic deaths are DUI-related"

source: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD)

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), impaired driving (driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs) is a serious and deadly crime that takes victims and shatters lives.

Prevention

To prevent drunk and drugged driving means being responsible for your choices and some planning. When you go out, designate a sober driver. Be responsible - don't risk driving if you have been drinking. The consequences are not worth it.

If you are planning a holiday party, your responsibilities increase. For example, if someone leaves your party drunk and has an accident with injuries, you could be held liable. This doesn't mean you should not have a party, only that you have to plan for the unexpected. Take these suggestions into consideration:

  • Host a party at home instead of at a restaurant

  • Consider having special or festive drinks for designated drivers

  • When you guests arrive and you take their coats, also take their keys for the duration of the party

  • Know which guests did not plan for a designated driver

  • Don't let guests mix their own drinks

  • Never serve alcohol to minors

  • Be prepared to call a taxi for a guest who should not drive

  • Be prepared to have a guest spend the night

Teen Drinking

According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), these are the realities for teens who drink alcohol:

  • One in five teens binge drink. Only 1 in 100 parents believes his or her teen binge drinks.

  • One in 3 8th graders drinks alcohol

  • Teen alcohol use kills about 6000 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.

  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and one out of three of those is alcohol related.

  • Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.

As women and mothers, sisters and daughters, we owe it to our families to be aware and ask questions. Being informed and having dialogue with our teens is the #1 prevention against teen drinking and fortifies our children to make better decisions for themselves.

How do I protect myself and my family?

Drunk drivers are on the roads and are a threat to other people on the road. Here are some tips to keep in mind while on the road during the holidays:

  • Wear your seat belt: this is your best defense.

  • Make sure children are in age-appropriate child safety seats.

  • Don't ride in a car if the driver has been drinking.

  • Call a cab or get a ride from a friend if your driver has been drinking.

  • Report drunk driving to the police

  • Drive defensively: stay clear of erratic drivers, change your route if you need to, keep a safe distance and be aware.

Tie One On

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have established a Tie One on for Safety ribbon program to encourage the public to become actively involved in the fight against drunk driving. By displaying a red ribbon, or red ribbon decal, on your car you pledge to drive safe, sober, and with a seat belt. The red ribbon reminds other drivers to do the same. For more information, visit MADD.org.

"National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month" is about celebrating life. Help the people in your life by promoting drunk and drugged driving awareness in your family and community.

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