Drinking, Drugs and Driving Don’t Mix

AAA Northway Insurance Agency Team

More than 11,654 people were killed in alcohol impaired driving crashes in the United States in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s one alcohol-impaired driving death every 45 minutes.

Driving under the influence of marijuana also is a concern. As New York has moved to legalize recreational marijuana usage, drivers should be aware that it’s still illegal and dangerous to drive while marijuana-impaired.

A recent Harris Poll survey found that while 91% of Americans believe driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and 87% say those who do so are a hazard to others on the road, just 40% believe it is contributing to more motor vehicle crashes.

Follow these tips to keep roads safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians:

FOR DRIVERS – Plan ahead, so it’s easy to make the right choice if you’re impaired

  • Choose a designated driver before you go out. Make sure they agree to stay alcohol- and drug-free.
  • Download a ridesharing app such as Lyft or program your local taxi’s number into your phone. That way, you can get a safe ride home if you need one with the touch of a button.
  • Stay with a friend or book a nearby hotel room if you are impaired.

FOR HOSTS – Plan parties with safety in mind and minimize liability

  • Offer non-alcoholic drink options and serve plenty of food.
  • Never serve minors.
  • Stop serving alcohol well before the party ends.
  • Consider using a professional bartender. They can recognize signs of impairment and limit alcohol.
  • Remind guests to plan ahead and designate a sober driver.
  • Don’t be afraid to take car keys away from guests who are too impaired to drive.
  • Help arrange alternate transportation or accommodations for guests who need it.

FOR EVERYONE – Take steps to protect yourself

  • Always wear your seatbelt. Nearly half of all vehicle occupants killed in car accidents were not wearing seat belts, according to NHTSA.
  • If you spot someone who appears to be an impaired driver when you are on the road, keep a safe distance and call 911 if it is safe to do so. Do not attempt to stop the other driver yourself.
  • Talk to friends and family about the dangers of impaired driving. Parents should talk to their children about this issue long before their teens get into the driver’s seat.

Call your local AAA insurance agent, visit your local branch or click AAA.com/Insurance for more information about auto and home insurance.

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