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National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Impaired driving is dangerous! It's the cause of more than half of all car crashes. December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, an opportunity to learn and a reminder of the dangers associated with operating a vehicle while impaired.

Mind-Altering Substances There are numerous substances that impair driving — many of which you might not even know or think about.

  • Depressants slow down the central nervous system. A driver can experience slower reaction time, reduced alertness, impaired coordination and depressed motor skills. Examples of depressants include: alcohol, barbiturates and tranquilizers.

  • Narcotics are a depressant that evoke a feeling of euphoria. A driver may suffer visual impairment, loss of concentration, slower reaction time and impaired motor skills. Examples of narcotics include: heroin, morphine.

  • Stimulants speed up the central nervous system. A driver may notice emotional and psychological effects such as overreacting, aggression, hostility, impatience or impulsiveness, as well as impaired coordination. Examples of stimulants include: caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines and cocaine.

  • Hallucinogens change the way a person thinks, sees and acts. These are called “mind-altering” drugs. Drivers may experience visual distortion, aggressiveness, violent behavior, time or distance distortion, short-term memory loss and slower reaction time. Examples of hallucinogens include: marijuana, hashish, LSD and PCP.

  • Alcohol is the most commonly used substance that results in impairment. From the first drink, alcohol affects coordination and judgment. The risk of being in a crash begins to climb with a BAC between .04 and .05 and increases rapidly thereafter. By the time a driver reaches a BAC of .06, he/she is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as a non-drinking driver. By the time a driver reaches a BAC of .08, he/she is 11 times more likely to be killed in a single-vehicle crash than a sober driver.

The result of driving impaired could be a DUI.

“Driving Under the Influence” is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, other drugs including cannabis (marijuana) prescribed for medical purposes, or intoxicating compounds and methamphetamine.


Receiving a DUI can leave a negative lasting impact including: fines, increased auto insurance premiums, loss of driving privileges, and in some cases, jail time.


Other Impairments

  • Advanced age affects safety on the roads because as we age, our senses do not work as they did as younger drivers.

  • Inexperienced drivers may lack experience and knowledge necessary to drive safer and react appropriately.

  • Emotions can cause mental distraction, impairing our ability to drive. Take time to calm down before getting behind the wheel.

  • Fatigue is very dangerous because we will not be able to keep our eyes on the road and make wise decisions. Being fatigued can cause our eyes to get heavy, resulting in possible lane drifting and/or slower reaction to our surroundings. i.e. neighboring vehicle(s), intersections, pedestrians, etc. If you sense your eyes getting heavy, safely pull over and rest.

Sober Driving is Safe Driving Driving is a privilege, not a right. Stay safe behind the wheel by getting plenty of sleep, knowing the potential dangers of prescription medications, and staying clear of drugs and alcohol.


For your safety and the safety of others, never drive while impaired.

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