December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, a campaign implemented by the President to increase awareness across the nation of the dangers and potentially deadly consequences of drugged, drunk, or distracted driving. Consuming illegal drugs has become increasingly prevalent in our society in recent years. During the month of December, efforts will be made educate and inform about the effects of drugs on drivers, and the impact on highway safety.
Drugged driving has become more common than drunk driving, according to a national survey. While drunk driving is still a huge problem, drugged driving has become an even bigger issue. A national survey revealed that in the U.S., drugs were present in weekend nighttime drivers more than seven times as often as alcohol. In addition, it is estimated that at least one-fifth of accidents in the country are caused by drugged driving.
Alcohol is considered a drug, and is a growing problem with teenagers. Other drugs teens frequently abuse that impair driving include marijuana, the most popular illicit drug with teens. Other drugs likely to be abused include prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and other painkillers. Stimulants such as Adderall are also popular among teenagers.
President Barack Obama proclaimed in his Whitehouse release that keeping the country’s roadways safe is the responsibility of all of us. Parents, teachers, church leaders – we can all make an effort to be good role models for young people, and to educate teens and young adults about the dangers of drugged or impaired driving. Helping young teens who are just beginning to drive to practice safe driving habits is critical to the future safety of America’s roadways.
While National Impaired Driving Prevention Month focuses primarily on the dangers of impaired driving, it is also about getting those who are addicted to alcohol and illicit drugs into treatment programs and reducing the use of illegal drugs in our society.
The Whitehouse has also provided a drugged driving toolkit designed to help parents and others identify, educate, and prevent youth drugged driving in teens and young adults. This 16-page presentation is perfect for parents, prevention groups, and coalitions who want spread the word about the dangers and extent of drugged driving, activities that can help prevent this issue, and additional assistance resources. It can be found here.
Not only does drugged driving put the person who is driving with alcohol or illicit substances in his/her body at risk, it puts everyone around that person at risk of devastating injuries or even death resulting from an accident. Driving while impaired can also lead to criminal charges, as it is against the law to use or possess certain drugs or consume alcohol while driving. Penalties may include steep fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, successful completion of drug/alcohol programs, and more.
National Impaired Driving Prevention Month lasts all through December. At Grabel & Associates, we urge all responsible and caring adults to not only help make our country a safer place in terms of driving, but to educate teens and young adults so that perhaps future generations will enjoy a drug-free lifestyle.