Home | Non-food | Miscellaneous | Impaired Driving

Impaired Driving

Photo: A glass of beer and car keysDrinking alcohol and driving is a dangerous combination. Take steps to prevent impaired driving and protect yourself, your passengers, and others on the road.

The Reality

Photo: Handing over car keys.Alcohol-impaired driving endangers the health and lives of drinking drivers, their passengers, and others on the road. You may not have realized that:

  • Every day, 32 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 45 minutes.
  •  One in 3 fatal motor-vehicle crashes involves an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • Alcohol-impaired driving takes an especially high toll on young people. One of every three drivers ages 21-24 who was killed in a motor vehicle crash in 2008 had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 (which is the illegal limit) or above.

Thankfully, there are steps individuals and communities can take to make injuries and deaths from impaired driving less of a threat.

Plan Ahead

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.

Protective Programs

When it comes to steps society can take to reduce impaired driving, sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlocks have been proven effective:

  • Sobriety checkpoints are traffic stops where law enforcement officers assess drivers’ level of alcohol impairment. These checkpoints consistently reduce alcohol-related crashes, typically by 20%.
  • Ignition interlocks are devices that are installed in the vehicles of people who have been convicted of driving while impaired. They prevent operation of the vehicle by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a specified safe level (usually 0.02% – 0.04%). When installed, interlocks are associated with about a 70% reduction in arrest rates for impaired driving