December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Washington — In response to the 10,000-plus lives lost in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes in 2017 in the United States, President Donald Trump has declared December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

Through the initiative, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that it will continue to raise public awareness about the dangers of impaired driving, whether drivers are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. Alcohol-related crashes accounted for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities last year but are “100 percent preventable,” an agency press release states.

A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility found that 44 percent of drivers killed in crashes in 2016 tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs – up from 28 percent in 2006.

“We hope every driver commits to making responsible and safe decisions when driving, including driving sober, finding a designated driver, and keeping loved ones from getting behind the wheel while impaired,” Trump’s Nov. 30 proclamation states. “By educating our communities on the importance of driving sober, we can help avoid loss of life, debilitating injuries and unbearable heartache. We must act to protect our loved ones and eliminate fatalities that prevent our fellow Americans from enjoying full and happy lives.”

NHTSA has released its SaferRide app to help keep impaired drivers off the roads by allowing users to identify their location and call a taxi or friend to pick them up. The agency’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” website also provides infographics, videos and other resources to help spread the message.

Since 1981, every U.S. president has demonstrated a commitment to preventing impaired driving by proclaiming December National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month or, more recently, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, according to the American Public Health Association.