As we approach the holiday season from Christmas to New Year's Day, it's crucial to recognize that this period marks not only a time for celebration but also heightened risks on the roads. With holiday parties and more vehicles on the road, the potential for accidents due to drunk, drugged, or drowsy driving increases significantly.
Statistics reveal a disturbing reality: during the holidays, there's a sharp rise in alcohol- and drug-related crashes, resulting in nearly 2,000 fatalities and numerous injuries across the United States annually.
We all share the responsibility to ensure safer streets during this festive season. Let's take action to prevent impaired driving and safeguard ourselves and our communities.
The Facts About Drunk, Drugged and Drowsy Driving
Every 39 minutes, a life is lost in the U.S. due to drunk-driving crashes, totaling 13,384 preventable deaths in 2021—an alarming 14% increase from 2020.
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), in 2022, there were approximately 5,232 alcohol-only, drunk driving-related crashes in Florida. There were over 3,052 injuries and 406 fatalities.
Alcohol diminishes brain function, impairing thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination—critical abilities for safely operating a vehicle. And the higher the alcohol levels in a person's system, the greater the negative impact on the central nervous system.
What we all can do:
- Ensure your friends don't drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Never ride with an impaired driver.
- If you're hosting a gathering with alcohol or drugs, remind your guests to plan for a safe journey home.
- Make it a habit to buckle up on every trip, whether you're the driver, in the front seat, or a back seat passenger. Safety first, every time.
Don’t Risk It: Get Home Safe
Driving safely becomes impossible when you're impaired
- It's illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or any substance that could potentially impair you.
Make plans for a safe ride home if you or anyone around might have even a single drink
- Use ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft or call a taxi.
- Have a designated driver or call a sober friend.
- Walk or plan to take public transportation, if possible.
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving
- Get proper rest after holiday shopping, parties, and travel before your hit the road.
- Check your medications to make sure that they do not cause sleepiness, blurred vison, dizziness, nausea, or other reactions that make it more difficult to drive safely.
Emergency Contact Information
Register or update your Emergency Contact Information with Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Doing so will help ensure law enforcement can contact your loved ones in the event of an emergency, like a vehicle crash.
Every vehicle should have an emergency supply kit, including
- A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack
- Jumper cables
- Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, non-latex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers, and instant cold compress