WASHINGTON, DC — This holiday season, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding Americans that it is never okay to drive impaired. Motorists traveling in the coming weeks can expect to see increased law enforcement on the road as part of the high-visibility Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign until December 3, 2018.
This year, for the first time, NHTSA’s annual Drive Sober campaign has expanded to focus not just on drunk, but also on drug-impaired driving with the “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different” campaign.
Last year, Maryland ranked thirteenth among states with the highest number of alcohol-related crashes in the month of December. Across the state, 20 lives were lost in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver.
According to NHTSA, 10,874 people were killed in 2017 in motor vehicle traffic crashes in which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08 grams per deciliter. During the month of December 2017, 885 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver. Like drunk driving, drug-impaired driving is impaired driving, which means it is dangerous and illegal in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.
NHTSA recommends the following actions to stay safe this holiday season:
•Remember, it is never okay to drive drunk or high. Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride share service to get home safely. Before you go out, download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play and Apple’s iTunes Store. It lets you share your location so a friend can pick you up. The app is free and available for Apple and Android devices.
•If a friend or family member is impaired by alcohol or drugs and planning to drive, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone—they’ll thank you later.
•Be alert and distraction-free, and if you see an impaired driver, call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so.
•Buckle up. Wearing your seat belt is your best defense against an impaired driver.