December is National Impaired Driving Prevention month. Impaired driving includes distracted driving, drugged driving, and drunk driving. With the holidays upon us there is a higher risk of impaired driving for adults and teens. SAMHSA reports that 30 million Americans drive drunk and nearly 10 million Americans drive under the influence of drugs every year. In addition, 19.5 percent of impaired driving cases involve people between the ages of 16 and 25. As we draw closer to the season of social gatherings, holiday parties, and celebrations here are some tips to help you prevent and stop impaired driving. You could be saving yours or someone else’s life.
1. ALCOHOL DOESN’T MAKE THE PARTY. While alcohol is not an illegal substance, keep in mind it does not have to be the life of the party either. They are many sober alternatives to a social celebration. If you want to make toasts or offer an adult-like atmosphere, try sparking juices or other non-alcoholic beverages. Do not assume everyone wants to drink. Offering non-alcoholic alternatives at your holiday party is a step in the right direction.
2. IF YOU DRINK, DON’T DRIVE. This may seem a little obvious, but clearly many drivers do not feel they are “impaired” after a few drinks. Whether you have had a few sips or a few glasses, if you have consumed alcohol the responsible thing to do is not drive. Today we are afforded many alternatives such as Uber or Lyft. Call a friend or relative, but do not take the risk getting behind the wheel after drinking.
3. BE A PROACTIVE HOST. If you are hosting a party, you share some of the responsibility when serving alcoholic beverages. Be sure to be mindful of your guests during the festivities and monitor all alcohol consumption. Do not let anyone leave your party drunk or impaired. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life. If minors are present, you have a duty to ensure children do not have access to alcohol.
4. TALK TO MINORS ABOUT UNDERAGE DRINKING. It’s crucial to talk to your children about the risks and harms of underage drinking. During the holidays, children and teens will have more access to alcohol and are at greater risk for underage drinking. Do not leave alcoholic beverages or nearly empty cups and bottles in reach minors. Set clear expectations for your teens before letting them attend holiday parties.
5. GET HELP AND SUPPORT. If you are in recovery or at greater risk to abuse alcohol, the holidays can pose a greater threat for your health and sobriety. Be sure to get help when you need it and rely on your support system whenever possible. BES Group & Associates offers a variety of DWI and substance abuse classes and support. We are here to help you, so you live…healthy, happy, and strong.