At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we’ve worked a long time with our safety partners across America to reduce deaths and injuries from automotive crashes due to impaired driving. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the past 10 years have declined by 21 percent. That’s progress. But it’s not enough. In 2014 alone, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes—roughly one-third of all motor vehicle deaths that year.
In December, with busy holiday travel, and celebrations that often involve alcohol, we have to work together to spread the word about the dangers of impaired driving. That’s why NHTSA is again joining with CADCA and many other partners to warn of the dangers of driving while impaired by alcohol or other drugs during National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.
You and your coalition will be a tremendous part of helping NHTSA and CADCA remind everyone this December that impaired driving kills. Reach out to local law enforcement to ask if they’re participating in NHTSA’s national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown. If they are participating then NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Marketing website can help you educate your community about the campaign. It includes background and facts about drunk driving that can help get the word out in your local newspaper or on social media. You can also let your neighbors know about NHTSA’s SaferRide app, for Apple and Android phones, that can help people find a safe ride home if they’ve been drinking.
Our vital partnership with CADCA will continue in 2016. In January, we’ll be supporting a CADCA-hosted webinar to discuss data and challenges surrounding drugged driving and what states and coalitions can do to help prevent it. Please use this opportunity to strengthen your coalition’s fight against impaired driving. We recently collaborated on a toolkit to help prevent impaired driving.
In February, at CADCA’s 26th Annual National Leadership Forum, NHTSA will host a workshop about what coalitions can do to promote the use of ignition interlock devices. We hope you’ll be there as you and your coalition work to make a “Monumental Impact,” which is the theme for this year’s forum.
For every preventable impaired driving death there are countless survivors whose lives are tragically and forever altered. The pain of a drunk or drugged driving death reverberates through a family and a community. We hope you’ll do your part to work with NHTSA and CADCA in the coming months to spare your friends and neighbors from the pain of losing someone to impaired driving.
Mark Rosekind is the 15th Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.