As he has every year since 2009, last week President Obama officially named December 2016 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
Impaired driving and related fatalities spike during the holiday season, making this an important time of year to remind drivers what’s at stake when they get behind the wheel.
In his proclamation the president specifically called out the impact of drunk driving, noting that “preventable alcohol-related driving fatalities accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities” in 2015. Despite years of messaging by anti-drunk driving groups and intensive efforts by law enforcement agencies, this percentage has remained largely unchanged in the past decade. Drugged and distracted driving are also growing dangers on the nation’s roads and highways.
Stopping impaired driving requires both personal responsibility and action as well as effective public policies. The president stated that as a nation “we must recommit to doing everything we can to prevent driving-related injuries and fatalities,” including:
- Pledging not to get behind the wheel after drinking, and not to text while driving. Ever.
- Calling 911 if we suspect a driver is drunk or impaired.
- Setting a good example for teen drivers by modeling safe driving practices and choices.
- Providing better treatment options for Americans who struggle with alcohol and substance misuse disorders.
- Giving law enforcement the resources and tools they need to address impaired driving.
What other steps do you think we need to take as citizens and as a country to stop drunk, drugged, and distracted driving?