Stay safe: Remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

While the holidays are synonymous with family get-togethers, shopping and genuine holiday cheer, the pre-holiday season, from Nov. 17 through Dec. 12, is the deadliest of the year on the nation’s roads.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with local communities as part of the national Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving awareness campaign in hopes of saving lives this holiday season.

On a base level, if you feel different, you drive different, no matter what caused the altered state — alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, cold medicine, inhalants, exhaustion. Anything that makes you feel unlike your normal self — from marijuana to a head cold — can change the way you drive.

If you plan to include alcohol or legal drugs in your celebration, make sure you refrain from driving. As always, we want all our brothers and sisters to come home safe every day.

Review the below facts and spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving.

Drunk Driving: The Sobering Statistics

  • During the 2017-2021 December months, there were more than 4,500 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. In December 2021 alone, 1,013 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
  • Drunk male drivers were involved in fatal crashes at a much higher rate (721) in December 2021 compared to female drivers (208).
  • In December 2021, 22% of males were drunk, compared to 17% of females when involved in fatal crashes, meaning males were almost four times more likely (721) to be alcohol-impaired and involved in a fatal traffic crash than females (208).
  • Young drivers ages 21-34 accounted for the highest percentage (27%) of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes in December 2021.
  • Nighttime driving in December 2021 was significantly more dangerous than daytime driving, with 29% of drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. being drunk. Almost half (43%) of drivers involved in fatal crashes between the hours of midnight and 2:59 a.m. were drunk, likely when bars are closing and people are driving home.
  • Approximately one-third of fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol content, or BACs, at or above .08 g/dL). In 2021, there were 13,384 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.
  • Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL.
  • Although it’s illegal to drive when impaired by alcohol, in 2021, one person was killed every 39 minutes in a drunk-driving crash on our nation’s roads.
  • The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2021 was 2.8 times higher at night than during the day.

The Cost of Drunk Driving

  • The financial impact from impaired-driving crashes is devastating: Crashes in which alcohol was the cause resulted in $57 billion in economic costs.
  • Drinking and driving is a risk no one should take. Doing so can cause injury or death to the driver, passengers, and others on the road. The consequences of drunk driving could be life-altering.

Plan Ahead for a Safe Celebration

  • Always drive 100% sober. Even one alcoholic beverage could be one too many.
  • Make a plan: Before you have even one drink, designate a sober driver to get you home safely. If you wait until you’ve been drinking to make this decision, you might not make the best one.
  • You have options to get home safely: designate a sober driver or call a taxi or rideshare. Getting home safely is always worth it. Some communities and national rideshare companies often offter a sober ride program or provide discounts on rides during the holiday season.
  • If it’s your turn to be the designated driver, take your job seriously and don’t drink.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement.
  • If you have a friend who is about to drink and drive, take the keys away and let a sober driver get your friend home safely.

Click here for more information about the Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving campaign.

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