December is a month of celebration and the perfect time to host National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. Since the holiday season can bring a mix of emotions for many people, drunk driving or drugged driving awareness is important. Intoxication is never the best way to deal with complicated and stressful emotions, but it’s often the easiest way. Combine those feelings with our dependency on driving, and you could be looking at a criminal conviction, car breathalyzer requirement and other very real problems.
December is a busy time for traveling. Some people may be driving home after an extended Thanksgiving visit; others hit the roads for winter holiday gatherings. Many drivers might be on the busy roads in order to take advantage of school vacations. Regardless of the reason, road safety is not only impacted by weather conditions, but also by drunk drivers and those under the influence of other substances.
The main reason for National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month is to raise awareness of the effects those habits have in our lives. Binge drinking and prescription drug abuse are both on the rise, leading to problems with driving and in all aspects of life. Plus, most people who abuse drugs and then get behind the wheel have also been drinking alcohol. That makes them double dangerous to have driving on the streets. Almost 4000 of the 21,798 drivers that were killed in car crashes in 2009 tested positive for drugs, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
The best decision is to never drink or take drugs before you get behind the wheel. And, if you witness someone else about to make this potentially fatal mistake, stop them. Drunk driving is a big concern, no matter what time of year, but the holiday season seems to bring out the best and worst in people, including coping inappropriately with too much to drink or an extra dose of medications. By taking responsibility for yourself, and maybe the wheel from another driver impaired by alcohol or drugs, you can be sure to have happy holiday celebrations for many years to come.