December is annually designated as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (often referred to as 3D Month). 3D Month reminds us to “Designate before we Celebrate” and encourages safe and sober driving.
Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes.1 The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $59 billion.2
How big is the problem?
- In 2012, 10,322 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.1
- Of the 1,168 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2012, 239 (20%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.1
- Of the 239 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2012, over half (124) were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.1
- In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.3 That’s one percent of the 112 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.4
- Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.
Thankfully, there are effective measures that can help prevent injuries and deaths from alcohol-impaired driving.
What safety steps can individuals take?
Whenever your social plans involve alcohol, make plans so that you don’t have to drive after drinking. For example:
- Prior to any drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when with a group.
- Don’t let your friends drive impaired. Take their keys away.
- If you have been drinking, get a ride home or call a taxi.
- If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
If you have any questions or comments about this Article or want to know more about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse/misuse, please contact the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) or the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 678-2112/1957.
- Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2012: Alcohol-Impaired Driving. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2014 [cited 2014 Sep 30]. Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811870.pdf.
- Blincoe L, Miller TA, Zaloshnja E, Lawrence, BA. The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010. Washington (DC): Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2014.
- Department of Justice (US), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Crime in the United States 2010: Uniform Crime Reports. Washington (DC): FBI; 2011 [cited Sept 29 2012]. Available at URL: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/summary
- Bergen G., Shults RA., Rudd RA. (October 4, 2011). Vital Signs: Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults –United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 60:39:1351.