December, most notably known as the month that ushers in the holiday season, is also National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month — serving as a reminder to us all to hand over the keys to a sober driver when overindulging.
Did you know that each day almost 30 people in the U.S. die in drunk-driving crashes? Last year, that equated to one person every 50 minutes and a total of 10,511 fatalities. In fact, drunk driving is still the number one cause of death on American roadways.
According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017, 28%, or 219, of the 782 motor vehicle deaths in Kentucky involved alcohol.
In every state — including Kentucky — it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. Yet, about 1.5% of Kentuckians admitted to driving after drinking too much during a 30-day period. Nationally, 1.9% reported getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol.
While the number of drinks it takes for a person’s blood alcohol level to reach 0.08 differs per person, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines a standard drink — whether one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine or one 1½-ounce shot of distilled spirits — as half an ounce of alcohol.
About 16% of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. involve legal or illegal drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. The country has also seen an increase in the number of drivers using marijuana. Roughly 13% of nighttime and weekend motorists have the drug in their system.
The good news is drunk and drugged driving accidents are preventable by planning ahead. If you are preparing to consume alcohol or use drugs, choose a non-drinking designated driver before starting to party or call a taxi or ride-hailing service. Do not drive or let others who have been partaking in drugs or alcohol do so.
Be responsible this holiday season.