WHAT IS IMPAIRED DRIVING?
Impaired driving means operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle while one
is affected by alcohol or drugs, including prescriptions and over-the-counter
WHY IS IMPAIRED DRIVING A PROBLEM?
Impaired driving costs Americans billions of dollars each year in lost
time, lost property and lost lives. In 1999, about 16,000 fatalities and
more than 305,000 injuries occurred due to alcohol-related crashes. This
translates into one death every 33 minutes and one injury every two minutes.
Additionally, traffic-related crashes annually result in more than $45
billion in economic costs.
WHAT IS BEING DONE TO STOP IMPAIRED DRIVING?
Communities all across the country are taking steps to fight the impaired
driving problem. Designated Driver programs help residents learn the alternatives
to driving while impaired. There are three practical options available
- Designate a sober
driver before you go out.
- Call a taxi cab
or Safe Ride program.
- Arrange to spend
the night where you are going to be drinking.
WHAT IS A DESIGNATED DRIVER?
A Designated Driver is someone who agrees not to drink any alcoholic beverages
and to transport home safely those who are impaired.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE USE A DESIGNATED DRIVER?
At the current rate, one in three Americans will be involved in an impaired
driving crash in their lifetime. Designating a sober driver reduces the
possibility of becoming a crash victim. Choosing a Designated Driver eliminates
the chance of being arrested for impaired driving. Party hosts should
encourage their guests to use Designated Drivers or to call a taxicab
so that they can avoid liability in the event someone is injured or killed
by a guest leaving the party.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE
A DESIGNATED DRIVER?
People should select their Designated Driver before going out. The Designated
Driver is not the least intoxicated person it is the person who
has had no alcohol or who is taking no medication that might impair their
ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. People can volunteer to be
the designated driver, you can draw straws or flip a coin. If something
unexpected occurs and you can't get a ride home with your Designated Driver,
call a taxicab, spend the night where you are, or call a sober friend
for a ride.
WHAT ARE SOME LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES TO STOP IMPAIRED DRIVING?
Highly visible enforcement is a proven method for deterring drivers from
getting behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs. Sobriety checkpoints
and saturation patrols are useful tools to reduce impaired driving.
At sobriety checkpoints, law enforcement officials evaluate drivers for
signs of alcohol or drug impairment at designated locations. Vehicles
are stopped in a specific sequence, such as every other vehicle or every
fourth, fifth or sixth vehicle. Sobriety checkpoints must display warning
signs to motorists, whereas saturation patrols do not.
Saturation patrols are concentrated enforcement efforts that target impaired
drivers by observing moving violations such as reckless driving, speeding,
aggressive driving, and others. Saturation patrols are spread over a high-risk
section of town or an entire community. In saturation patrols, motorists
and motorcyclists are evaluated on an individual basis because certain
behaviors have been displayed to law enforcement officers while the vehicle
is in motion.
Well-publicized sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols educate the
general driving public that breaking traffic laws is a serious problem
and that violators will be punished.