GENESEO, N.Y., Dec. 20, 2022 – With the holidays on the near horizon, families and friends will soon attend long-awaited get-togethers. December represents National Impaired Driving Prevention Month and Livingston County is reminding residents to prevent tragedy by planning for alternate means of transportation this holiday season.
According to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, alcohol-impaired driving crashes—which range from being under the influence of substances to distracted driving to speeding—increase throughout December as more people travel. Furthermore, the study revealed that over 26 million people ages 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs during the past year. Approximately 17 percent of these people were 20 to 25 years old.
In 2019, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration issued a report showing that 210 lives were lost due to alcohol-impaired driving during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Additionally, nearly 10,000 people were killed from drunk driving incidents that same year.
Each year, nearly 2,500 adolescent deaths and 300,000 injuries occur in the United States resulting from motor vehicle crashes, making it one of the leading causes of death and injury in the country. Prevention and awareness measures are key in ensuring that these numbers decrease.
With many young people returning home during the holidays, parents and caregivers can follow these simple steps to spark a conversation about socializing safely:
- Discussing the dangers of underage alcohol and substance use—especially when combined with driving—and set expectations for your child’s behavior. SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign, including its new mobile app, helps parents and caregivers start these conversations.
- Sharing resources designed for youth that communicate the facts and consequences, like Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts and the Tips for Teens series.
- Setting curfews if youth go to a party and offering to drive them or pick them up. Even if your teen abstains from alcohol, he or she may have a hard time saying “no thanks” to a peer driver who is drinking.
- Coordinating with their friends’ parents about driving plans, as well as maintaining substance-free environments at parties. (Most states have social host laws that prohibit hosts from serving alcohol to minors. Some parents may think it’s a safe option if it’s happening “under their roof”—but it’s still breaking the law and dangerous.)
To learn more about National Impaired Driving Prevention Month or to find helpful tips in talking to your child, please visit the Substance Abuse and mental Health Services Administration’s website.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is comprised of more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.