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Through the vacation season, many people sit up for get-togethers with family and friends. Sadly, holidays will also be a harmful time for alcohol- and drug-related visitors incidents. SAMHSA is observing Nationwide Impaired Driving Prevention Month in December to lift consciousness of this lethal but preventable downside.

Because the early Nineteen Eighties, public coverage modifications, faculty and neighborhood interventions, and grassroots advocacy have considerably decreased alcohol-related driving fatalities. But, driving impaired (by alcohol or different medication) continues to take lives.

  • About 30 p.c of all visitors fatalities in the US contain a driver who’s alcohol impaired. Every day, about 32 individuals in the US die in a crash wherein no less than one driver is alcohol impaired. That’s one individual each 45 minutes.1,2
  • 56 p.c of drivers who’re critically injured or killed in a crash examined optimistic for no less than one drug, in accordance with preliminary knowledge from an ongoing examine. 3,4

Alcohol, Different Medication, and Drugs

We all know loads about how alcohol impairs the power to drive — affecting our imaginative and prescient, response instances, judgement, and skill to multi-task. Driving beneath the affect of different medication can have equally lethal penalties. 5,6

  • Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines may cause excessive drowsiness, dizziness, and different uncomfortable side effects. If there’s a warning on the medicine about “working heavy equipment,” that features driving a automobile.
  • Marijuana can sluggish response time, impair judgment of time and distance, and reduce coordination.
  • Opioids may cause drowsiness and impair cognitive perform.
  • Cocaine and methamphetamines can result in aggressive and reckless driving.

It’s unlawful in every single place in the US to drive drunk, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or any probably impairing drug. 7

  • This contains prescribed and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Even in states the place marijuana legal guidelines have modified, it’s nonetheless unlawful to drive beneath the affect of that drug.

What You Can Do

All of us need to rejoice safely. That begins with renewing our dedication to sober driving and supporting our family members and communities to do the identical. Only one drink (or substance) can have an effect on an individual’s driving.

  • Should you’re attending a gathering the place alcohol or different substances will likely be served, plan beforehand to get residence safely.
    • You possibly can designate a sober driver or prepare for a taxi or journey share (to and out of your vacation spot).
    • Speak upfront with family and friends about planning to stop impaired driving.
  • Don’t let others get behind the wheel in the event that they’re beneath the affect.
    • Take their keys and prepare a sober journey residence or have them keep the evening.
  • Should you host a celebration the place alcohol or different substances will likely be served:
    • Ask your friends to make a plan to get residence safely.
    • Supply substance-free drinks.
    • Be certain all friends depart with a sober driver.
  • At all times put on a seat belt.
    • Guarantee that everybody within the automobile wears a seat belt.
  • Should you see an impaired driver on the street, pull over and make contact with native legislation enforcement.

For the Youngsters in Your Life

Speak along with your children about impaired driving.

  • Allow them to know:
    • It’s by no means okay to get behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle whereas beneath the affect.
    • Getting in a automobile with somebody who has been consuming or utilizing medication is harmful.
  • Assist children plan an exit technique, to keep away from accepting a journey from somebody beneath the affect.


This vacation season — and all 12 months lengthy — we every play a task in stopping impaired driving and its tragic penalties. Sober driving is a present that we are able to every give to ourselves and one another.

1Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Drunk Driving. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.

2Nationwide Middle for Statistics and Evaluation (2022, April). Alcohol-impaired driving: 2020 knowledge (Visitors Security Information. Report No. DOT HS 813 294). Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. (PDF | 541 KB)

3Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Drug-Impaired Driving. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.

4 Workplace of Behavioral Security Analysis. (2021, June). Replace to particular reviews on visitors security throughout the COVID-19 public well being emergency: Fourth quarter knowledge (Report No. DOT HS 813 135). Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration.

5 Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse, Nationwide Institutes of Well being, U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies. (2019, December). Drugged Driving DrugFacts. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.

6Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Drug-Impaired Driving. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.

7 Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. Drug-Impaired Driving. Retrieved at on Nov. 15, 2022.



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