A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AAA: Holiday merriment can lead to deadly consequences on Roadways — do not drive impaired

The holiday season is here, a time of year for parties and gatherings with friends, family and coworkers. Often these festivities include alcohol, resulting in some partygoers finding themselves impaired with no safe ride home. AAA urges drivers not to turn the holiday season into a deadly situation by driving impaired.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 885 people nationwide lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December in 2017. From 2013 to 2017, there were 4,110 people killed across the country in December crashes that involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL).

During 2017, 5,350 alcohol-related collisions were reported and 3% of these alcohol-related collisions were fatal, according to the Kentucky State Police.

December has been designated National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, to help bring attention to the dangers of drunk driving as well as drugged driving, which has become a growing risk on our nation’s roadways. Motorists need to remember that alcohol and illegal drugs, as well as prescription and over-the-counter medications, could impair their ability to drive safely.

“AAA is sending this timely reminder to not get behind the wheel of a car if you are under the influence,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “As millions prepare to travel and celebrate with their loved ones, we urge everyone to do their part to prevent needless tragedies on our roads this holiday season.”

AAA offers the following tips to prevent impaired driving this holiday season:
 
• Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
• Never get behind the wheel of a car when you have been drinking alcohol – not even after just one drink.
• Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – not even after just one drink.
• Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired. You could be saving lives.
• Use public transportation, Uber, Lyft, or call a taxi. Put numbers for local cab or ridesharing companies in your phone before heading out for the evening.
• Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages as alternatives.
• Walking impaired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Designate a sober friend to walk you home. 
• Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.
• If you see someone driving that you suspect is impaired, ask a passenger to call 911 or pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road to make the call.

From AAA  

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