Truth be told, studies show that 97% of Americans see drinking and driving as a threat to them and their families.  Too often innocent lives are lost because of someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Impaired driving is one of America’s most serious crimes.The entire month of December is time taken and sponsored by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and Governors Highway Safety Association, to remind all drivers to leave the party “at the party”, not on the road.  This years’ theme is “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”  

Officers know the cues to watch for when suspecting a driver is under the influence.  Citizens can do the same thing, and have a passenger call the highway patrol (or pull over and give the license number), if they see suspicious activity on the highway.  Some of the cues that officers observe that lead them to stop a driver are:

  • Weaving
  • Weaving across lane lines
  • Swerving
  • Drifting
  • Almost hitting another vehicle
  • Stopping in the lane
  • Accelerating for no reason; varying speeds
  • Failure to signal turns
  • Going the wrong way
  • No headlights on at night
  • Following too closely
  • Inappropriate or unusual behavior
  • Impaired appearance.

Again, if you suspect an impaired driver is traveling near you, call law enforcement, and possibly save someone’s life.

Employers can save time, productivity, money and lives if they have an employee-based traffic safety initiative.  Working Partners raises awareness about the impact drugs and alcohol have on the workplace, and helps employees and employers work together to ensure safety on the road, in the office, and at a worksite.  Individuals most likely to drive impaired – those between ages 21 and 34 – are well represented in the workplace and can provide a captive audience for prevention messages.  The NHTSA uses a three-pronged strategy: high-visibility law enforcement and supporting communication campaigns; enhanced prosecution and adjudication; and medical screening and brief intervention for alcohol abuse problems.  Special emphasis is placed on reach high-risk populations, including those between the ages of 21 to 34, repeat offenders, and high-BAC (blood alcohol concentration) offenders. 

So, during the holiday season, when there are more parties and festivities, remember to make plans to have a designated driver – or know how you are going to get home safely.  It’s not worth risking your life or the lives of innocent persons to get behind the wheel.  Not only during holiday season, but every day should be a safe driving day.  There is help for those who are fall the influence of alcohol or drugs on a regular basis, and if you know someone who fits into this category, try to encourage them to get help.  That would be the best Christmas gift of all.  

Drive safely and sober!