As the year draws to a close, many of us are ready to shut the door on 2020 and get a fresh start in the new year ahead. As you prepare for the holiday festivities ahead, we know things might look a little different this season. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the most wonderful time of the year is also one of the most dangerous times of the year, especially when it comes to impaired driving.
In a “normal” year, the holiday season is the peak time for travel, with the number of drivers increasing as people head out to visit family and friends to celebrate. Often, these gatherings involve alcohol, which leads to individuals enjoying a few holiday spirits and then getting behind the wheel. While impaired driving is of course a concern throughout year, the holidays can be a particularly deadly time.
December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
Since 1981, every president of the United States has proclaimed December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month to demonstrate the commitment to preventing impaired driving. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day falls just behind the 100 Deadliest Days, the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as the most dangerous time to be on the roads due to the increased number of impaired drivers.
Impaired Driving Statistics for the Holiday Season
Impaired driving includes drunk driving, drugged driving and distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) partnered with the U.S. Department of Transportation to create the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign as a means to spread the word about the importance of avoiding impaired driving. Too many impaired drivers get behind the wheel every day, putting their own lives and the lives of countless others on the road with them at risk. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most startling statistics about impaired driving during the holiday season:
- According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2016, 781 people lost their lives in drunk-driving-related crashes in the month of December alone.
- The U.S Department of Transportation also reports the during the period from Christmas through New Year’s, an average of over 300 people died each year in drunk-driving crashes.
- Drunken drivers caused 6,007 fatal crashes during the holidays from 2010 to 2018.
- The number of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver rises from 36 per day to 45 during the 3-day Christmas period.
- The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that 40% of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers — a 12% increase over the rest of the month of December.
- From 2014 to 2018, the NHTSA reports that there were more than 4,000 drunk-driving-related fatalities in the month of December.
Drive Sober During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
This National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we urge you to keep the above facts in mind before enjoying too many holiday spirits and getting behind the wheel. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make smart decisions that will ensure the safety of all those on the road. Remember, if you feel different, you’ll drive different. Make the pledge to stay sober, alert and avoid distractions when you’re driving this holiday season and beyond.
Drive Team offers teen driving classes and corporate driver training to teach drivers of all ages how to be safe, confident and conscientious while behind the wheel. Contact us today for more information.