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Stay Sober or Be Pulled Over This Holiday Season

State highway officials renew their warnings about drunk driving

MONDAY, Dec. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As the holiday season kicks into full gear, state highway officials from across the nation are warning drivers to stay off the roads if they've been drinking.

On average, more than 800 people in the United States die in drunk driving crashes each December. The annual national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization, staged from Dec. 10 to New Year's Eve, aims to lower that number and contribute to safer roadways.

"Unfortunately, far too many people still make the dangerous decision to get behind the wheel after too many drinks, especially during the holidays," Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, said in a statement from the association. "Impaired driving contributes to one-third of all highway fatalities."

The association focuses mainly on impairment caused by alcohol, but it's also calling for states to do more about impairment due to the use of drugs like marijuana.

According to the association, highway safety officials in Colorado and Washington -- two states that have legalized marijuana -- are emphasizing a "Drive High, Get a DUI" message.

"We need to make drug-impaired driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving and remind all motorists that when you are feeling impaired -- whether it's from alcohol, another drug or a combination -- you are in no condition to drive," Adkins said.

The association also pointed to new programs in several states:

  • The California Office of Traffic Safety is now offering an app for cellphones that provides information about ride services and special deals at bars and restaurants for designated drivers.
  • In Delaware, the state Office of Highway Safety promotes non-alcoholic "mocktail" parties that promote safe partying.
  • The Maryland Highway Safety Office has its own app that allows users to test whether they're too impaired to drive and find details about transportation options.
  • In Utah, the Highway Safety Office is setting up a holiday tree in memory of individual drunk driving victims, who will be honored with custom ornaments.

More information

For more on impaired driving, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Governors Highway Safety Association, news release, Dec. 16, 2014
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