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Impaired driving: A preventable death issue

By Joycelyn Biggs | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | December 4, 2014

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Since 2012, almost 10,950 people per year have died from accidents involving drunk drivers, according to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Other NHTSA studies reported 18 percent of accidents with fatalities involving drugged drivers and fatigued drivers claimed 1,550 lives in 2009.

Although various polls indicate most people understand the dangers of driving while impaired, research proves many will disregard the risk. The sad truth is every impaired driving death is preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC offers the following checklist to prevent drunk driving:

• Prior to any drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when with a group.

• Don’t let your friends drive impaired. Take their keys away.

• If you have been drinking, get a ride home or call a taxi.

• If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver. 

To prevent fatigued driving, the Transit Accident Commission created the following checklist:

• Get a good night’s sleep before heading off on a long trip.

• Don’t travel for more than eight to 10 hours a day.

• Take regular breaks – at least every two hours.

Share the driving wherever possible.

• Don’t drink any alcohol before your trip.

• Don’t travel at times when you’d usually be sleeping.

Take a 15 minute powernap if you feel yourself becoming drowsy.

President Barack Obama has also joined the effort to eliminate these preventable deaths. On Nov. 29, he signed the National Impaired Driving Prevention Month Proclamation. The document states in part, people must promote safe and responsible behaviors while driving.

To view the proclamation, visit the website: www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/29/ presidential-proclamation-national-impaired-driving-prevention-month-20.

Christmas travel this year will be at an all-time high. Following the suggestions may be the difference between life and death.
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