FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2020
CONTACT: Adrian Nicholas, 202-580-7934
AFTER-HOURS CONTACT: Pam Shadel Fischer, 908-619-2786
Despite Less Traffic and Renewed Calls to Stay Home, Impaired Driving Remains Prevalent
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite fewer drivers on the road this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, states have tracked a disturbing uptick in many risky driving behaviors. To address this challenge, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and its members, the state highway safety offices (SHSOs), joined with federal officials, MADD and the International Association of Chiefs of Police today to shine a spotlight on the threat of impaired driving and remind motorists to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and If You Drive High, Get a DUI. The annual holiday national impaired driving mobilization — a partnership between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), states, law enforcement and other highway safety partners — begins Friday and runs through New Year’s Day.
“Our members and partners across the U.S. are sending the strong message that driving after consuming too much alcohol and other impairing substances is unacceptable and has made the winter holiday season one of the deadliest times on the road,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. According to NHTSA, an average of 300 people died annually in drunk driving crashes between Christmas and New Year’s Day over the last five years. “Campaigns like this are critical due to the growing incidence of multi-substance impaired drivers and increasing legal access to marijuana and other drugs in many states,” he added.
Adkins stressed the need to not only detect, arrest and convict impaired drivers, but also to ensure each person is screened and assessed to determine their level of risk. For those drivers deemed high-risk (Blood Alcohol Content of 0.15 or higher, polysubstance user and/or repeat offender), appropriate sanctions and treatment are essential for preventing recidivism and eradicating impaired driving from the nation’s roadways. This individualized approach to impaired driving prevention is detailed in the GHSA report, High-Risk Impaired Drivers: Combatting a Critical Threat.
GHSA is also once again partnering with Lyft to provide nearly $100,000 in grant funds and ride credits to select states to promote hailing a ride rather than driving after consuming alcohol and/or other impairing substances this holiday season. The SHSOs in Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas are partnering with law enforcement officials, health care providers, advocates, retailers, and bars and restaurants to promote the Lyft ride credits. Whether people are celebrating the season at a public venue or a home-based gathering, opting for a responsible ride home is critical for their safety and that of everyone else on the road.
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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.