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It's National Impaired Driving Prevention Month


Fri, Dec 15th 2023 04:05 pm

AAA has important safety tips to help everyone remain safe on the roads

By AAA of Western and Central New York

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The holiday season is here, many people will attend holiday parties, and AAA Western and Central New York wants to remind drivers to have a plan in place to get home safely after a night of festivities. As an advocate for traffic safety, AAA has supported more than 50 years of public education efforts against impaired driving. Yet, the work is not finished.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day, about 37 people in the U.S. die in drunk-driving crashes – that's one person every 39 minutes. In 2021, 13,382 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes – up 14% from 2020. Those deaths were all preventable.

Drug-impaired driving is also a major concern for traffic safety. AAA research shows that marijuana can impair drivers in a variety of ways, and marijuana use is becoming more commonplace with the legalization of recreational marijuana in 24 states including New York. While marijuana usage may be legalized, it remains illegal to use the drug and drive a vehicle.

People who use both alcohol and marijuana are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road – they are significantly more likely to speed, text, intentionally run red lights, and drive aggressively than those who don't, according to data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“Alcohol, marijuana, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications all lead to impairment and create dangerous, life-threatening situations on our roadways when users get behind the wheel,” said Anthony B. Spada, AAA Western and Central New York president and CEO. “AAA’s message to drivers: You cannot drive safely while you are impaired. Please plan ahead this holiday season to avoid tragedies and celebrate safely.”

AAA’s tips for traffic safety and impaired-free driving:

For drivers:

√ Choose a designated driver before you go out.

√ Use a ridesharing service or a local taxi service.

√ Stay with a friend or book a nearby hotel room if you plan to use alcohol or drugs.

For hosts:

√ Offer nonalcoholic drink options and never serve minors.

√ Stop serving alcohol well before the party ends.

√ Remind guests to plan ahead and designate a sober driver.

√ Don’t be afraid to take car keys away from guests who are too impaired to drive.

√ Help arrange alternate transportation or accommodations for guests who need it.

For everyone:

√ Always wear your seatbelt.

√ If you spot a motorist who appears to be an impaired driver, keep a safe distance, and call 9-1-1 if it is safe to do so.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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