With summer right around the corner, chances are good that people will be going out to dinner, events and traveling on vacation in increased numbers. Along with the summer crowds, and fun, comes the potential dangers of drunk driving. Driving while under the influence is dangerous every time, but with more people on the road during the summer, it is a good idea to remember the threat of drunk driving and take steps to prevent and avoid it.
AAA reports that an estimated 37.2 million Americans would hit the road to travel this past Memorial Day Weekend, the largest volume in the last ten years. With Memorial Day Weekend serving as a kick off to the summer season, it's worth noting that barbecues and get-togethers are meant to be fun times, but often involve drinking that has the potential to get out of control. Once the party is over and you have to get back on the road, it is essential to make sure you do so safely.
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rates of drunk driving have actually declined since 2007 by close to one third, more people are driving while under the influence of other substances. In fact, one out of every four drivers who responded to a 2014 survey reported being under the influence of a potentially dangerous drug. Respondents indicated that since 2007 there has been a 50 percent increase in being high on marijuana while driving.
The months following Memorial Day present such an increased risk for teen deaths while driving that they have been dubbed the "100 Deadliest Days for Teens." The National Safety Council, a nonprofit group, analyzed data from the NHTSA and discovered that in 2012, teen drivers were involved in crashes that killed close to 1,000 people, and more than 550 of those who died were teens. CNN points out that when teens text and drive or have friends in the car, they can become distracted and more prone to accidents.
However, drinking and driving poses a bigger threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that teens face the greatest risk of getting into an accident involving a drunk driver, regardless of blood alcohol content level at the time.
No matter the age of drivers and passengers, drunk driving is a threat to everyone's safety. According to the CDC, drivers that had a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher who were involved in fatal crashes we repeat offenders, and six times more likely to have been convicted of driving while under the influence at a previous time.
In addition to being potentially fatal, being charged with a DUI is a serious offense that can have a large impact on an individual's life. You don't have to be in an accident to get a DUI. It is common for law enforcement to set up sobriety checkpoints to catch those driving while under the influence.
The bottom line is that there is no safe way to drink and drive. If you or someone you love are struggling with driving under the influence, it is time to seek help. Drug and alcohol treatment centers know how to properly diagnose and treat alcohol dependency and substance abuse disorders.
Fairwinds Treatment Center, founded by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, features a highly trained and skilled team of doctors, therapists, psychiatrists and nurses. Using a dual diagnosis approach, they will help determine an individual treatment plan to resolve the psychological triggers of addiction by determining the root cause, reducing the chances of relapse allowing the patient to heal from addiction.