The holiday season is officially upon us. We’re all busy shopping, baking, wrapping presents, and of course, spending time with friends and loved ones at festive gatherings. This should be one of the most wonderful and happy times of the year, however for far too many this season can turn tragic due to crashes associated with impaired driving.
Whatever your plans are this time of year, it’s important to celebrate as safely as possible. The holiday season brings a significant spike in traveling and traffic on the roadways plus inclement weather and more difficult driving conditions. It’s a time of year when drivers need to be extra aware and vigilant, and yet the opposite is often the case as there is an increase in individuals getting behind the wheel impaired by alcohol or drugs.
This is why since 1981, every president of the United States has proclaimed December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, urging drivers to make the right choice by driving sober and distraction-free not only this month, but throughout the entire year.
Holiday Impaired Driving Statistics
As you prepare for the holiday festivities ahead, 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.
While impaired driving is a concern throughout year, the holidays can be a particularly deadly time. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is second only to the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the most dangerous time of the year to be on the roads.
Impaired Driving Statistics for the Holiday Season
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 NHTSA in 2019, 837 people lost their lives in drunk-driving-related-crashes in the month of December alone.
- The NHTSA also reports that during the 2019 period from Christmas through New Year’s, 210 people died in drunk-driving-related 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 an average of 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.
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. Designate a sober driver before every event, or plan to use a ride share service to and from your celebrations. Have a ride share app like Uber or Lyft installed on your phone and ready for use if you need it.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to make smart decisions that will ensure the safety of all those on the road. Remember, you may feel fine, but even a small amount of impairment can slow your reaction time enough to result in a crash. 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.