Drinking and driving while either impaired or drunk is dangerous. Drivers with high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) are at much greater risk of traffic crashes. This means more injuries and deaths.
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I. The Problem: Drinking and Driving
Every single injury and death caused by drunk driving is preventable. In fact, the proportion of alcohol-impaired driving crashes has dropped greatly over time.
But there are still far too many such crashes. So in spite of great progress, alcohol-impaired drinking and driving remains a serious problem. It tragically effects many victims and their families annually.
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The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities per 100,000 population has dropped over two-thirds since 1982. Other measures of the problem are similar. So we’re clearly winning the battle against alcohol-related traffic deaths.
But we can and must do even better.
Remember, never drive if you, or anyone else, thinks that you may have had too much to drink. And don’t let anyone else. That includes reporting drivers who appear drunk. It’s always safest not to drink and drive. Use a Designated Driver.
VI. Often Overlooked
Often overlooked traffic safety problems include drugged driving and distracted driving.
After Drunk Driving….
Technology may soon virtually eliminate drunk driving. But testing for drug use by drivers is very difficult. And solving the distracted driving problem seems far in the future.
Let’s start working on them now!
People know the dangers of drinking and driving. But there are two other serious traffic safety problems. Drugged driving is one. Distracted driving is the other. These may account for even more fatalities that drunk driving.
MADD founder Candace (Candy) Lightner formed We Save Lives. It focuses on all of the three Ds: Drunk, Drugged, and Distracted driving.Drugged Driving.
Studies have looked at drivers stopped for erratic driving, involved in a crash, or killed in a crash. Over one-third had at least one drug in their bodies. Many were under the influence of both drugs and alcohol.21
Surveys report a large increase in drugged drivers over a seven year period. (Those with alcohol in their blood dropped by almost one-third during the period.)22Distracted Driving.
At any moment during daylight, about 660,000 drivers in the U.S. are using an electronic device. A total of 421,000 people in a recent year were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Thousands died.23 And the problem continues to get worse.
VII. ResourcesPopular ResourcesFilms Human Sci. Drinking and Driving. A Crash Course. eVideo. NY: Films Media, 2015.Goodman, K. and Simon, K. Safe Road Home. Stop Your Teen from Drinking & Driving. NY: Sterling, 2005.Mendralla, V. and Grosshandler, J. Drinking and Driving, Now What? NY: Rosen, 2012. Juv.ReferencesNichols and Ross, ibid.NHTSA. Vehicle and License Plate Sanctions. DOT HS 810 880. 2018.Voas, R. and Fisher, D., ibid.
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NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. DOT 812 118, 2015.