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This time of year, schedules fill up quickly with special events and gatherings of friends and family that often involve the consumption of alcohol. Many people drink more often and consume more in these weeks than at any other time during the year and most are not used to assessing their own ability to drive, particularly on winter’s more dangerous roadways. This all adds up to conditions in which drunk or impaired driving is not only possible and more likely, which is why December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
A recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that DUI arrests peak between Thanksgiving and the end of December, and that the average daily death rate caused by drunk/drugged drivers increases from 36 to between 45 and 54 on Christmas and New Years Eve respectively. In addition, the Center for Disease Control estimates that 25,000 people will experience injuries during the same period as a result of accidents in which the driver is impaired. These numbers reflect a decline over previous decades, but each incident represents a family devastated, a son, daughter, husband, wife or friend not returning home.
Ina Sherman, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor at NorthShore’s Doreen E. Chapman Center, shares her suggestions for helping to ensure that you and your friends and family celebrate responsibly and that everyone out on the roads reaches their holiday destinations safe and sound:
Do you make sure to designate a driver at each holiday celebration?