Teresa Thomas, SJTSA Program Manager said “It is hard to look at the numbers and then think of the families, friends and communities that have been changed forever, especially when we know that most of the crashes were preventable.”
Sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Governors Highway Safety Association, the goal of the monthly campaign is to remind people that drinking and drugs don’t mix with driving and that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
Thomas said “The biggest problem is that when you are impaired your first mental ability to go is judgment, therefore, you can’t accurately determine if you are capable of driving.”
Alcohol is a depressant that slows down your brain and body. The first mental ability to be affected is judgment and the first physical ability is coordination. Behind the wheel, an impaired driver is slow to recognize a problem and react in time to correct or avoid the crash. Mixing drugs and alcohol, even prescription drugs, can exaggerate the effects. A good rule of thumb is to avoid driving if you are taking medication unless the medication specifically says it does not affect driving ability.
According to the National Safety Council, at any time in the United States, 1 driver out of every 50 on the road is not just impaired but illegally intoxicated. On weekend nights that number is closer to 1 driver out of 10. Thomas believes that number is even lower during December.
Before you head out to the road this December, be responsible and be prepared. Don’t drive impaired, don’t let friends or family drive impaired and make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seat belt. Considering two out of every five people will be involved in an alcohol related motor vehicle crash sometime in their lifetime, your best defense is a good offense.
For more safe holiday travel tips, drunk driving statistics and general traffic safety information visit www.SJTSA.org.
Teresa M. Thomas
South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance