In a presidential proclamation, President Barack Obama named the month of December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The President said, “Impaired driving and its consequences can seriously alter or even destroy lives and property in a moment. This reckless behavior not only includes drunk driving, but also the growing problem of drugged driving. Drugs, including those prescribed by a physician, can impair judgment and motor skills. It is crucial that we encourage our young people and fellow citizens to make responsible decisions when driving or riding as a passenger, especially if drug use is apparent.
Stephen is a member of the DWI committee at the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., in Washington, DC.
This proclamation coincides with the recent release by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of new data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). One in three fatally injured drivers (33%) with known drug test results in the United States tested positive for drugs other than alcohol in 2009. While the number of drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes has declined over the past five years, the number of drivers positive for drugs has increased by 5%.