Of course, we don’t intend to harm anyone when we get behind the wheel during the holiday season. Yet traffic fatalities persist and myths about drinking live on—even though scientific studies have documented how alcohol affects the brain and body.
Because individuals are so different, it is difficult to give specific advice about drinking. But certain facts are clear—there’s no way to speed up the brain’s recovery from alcohol and no way to make good decisions when you are drinking too much, too fast.
So this holiday season, do not underestimate the effects of alcohol. Don’t believe you can beat them. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you choose to drink:
- Pace yourself. Know what constitutes a standard drink and have no more than one per hour.
- Have “drink spacers”—make every other drink a nonalcoholic one.
- Make plans to get home safely. Remember that a designated driver is someone who hasn’t had any alcohol, not simply the person in your group who drank the least.
Have a safe holiday season!
via Publications | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism | New Year, Old Myths, New Fatalities: Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths Jump During Christmas and New Year’s.
MYTH: I’d rather be thrown clear in a crash.
FACT: Being thrown safely clear in a crash is almost impossible. When you’re thrown, you may be thrown through the windshield, scraped along the pavement, or even crushed by your own vehicle or another one. The idea of being thrown from a car and gently landing in a grassy area beside the road is pure fantasy. Your best bet in a crash is to stay inside the vehicle, securely held by your seat belt.
via MSP – Myths and Facts About Seat Belts.
Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions that result in injuries and even deaths. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving.
via Road rage – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Motor vehicle-related injuries are a leading cause of death for people in the United States. Worldwide, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 29. CDC is using science to better understand this problem and develop programs and policies that will change behavior to keep drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians safe on the road every day.
via CDC – Winnable Battles – Motor Vehicle Injuries.
Drowsy driving is dangerous and often results in injury or death. Falling asleep at the wheel or the inability to pay adequate attention while driving may be a result of being sleep deprived. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every year there are 100,000 drowsy driving crashes reported to police costing $12.5 billion.
via Drowsy Driving Awareness.
Employers that have employees on the road should be aware of the hazards they face and how to keep them safe. Here are 10 facts employers need to know:
- In 2005, 43,443 people were killed and 2,699,000 were injured in 6,159,000 police-reported motor vehicle crashes. Daily that represents 17,000 reported crashes and 119 deaths.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for all age groups from 3 to 33 years of age. Crashes are the 3rd leading cause of years of potential life lost for all ages combined.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the U.S.
- A typical driver in the U.S. travels 12,000 to 15,000 miles annually and has a one in 15 chance of being involved in a motor vehicle collision each year. With most fleet drivers traveling 20,000 to 25,000 miles or more each year, they have a greater crash exposure.
- The most dangerous part of the day for any employee is the time they spend in their vehicle witha crash occurring every 5 seconds, property damage occurring every 7 seconds, an injury occurring every 10 seconds, and a motor vehicle fatality occurring every 12 minutes.
- Forty-one percent of the average vehicle miles traveled per household are from commuting to and from work (27%) and driving on work-related business (14%).
- In 2000, the economic cost of crashes to employers was $60 billion resulting in 3 million lost workdays. Two-thirds of the cost ($40 billion) was from on-the-job crashes while one-third ($20 billion) was from off-the-job crashes for employees and their benefit-eligible dependents.
- The average on-the-job crash costs an employer about $16,500 or just under $0.16 per mile driven. Crashes involving injuries cost substantially more — $504,408 for a fatal injury and $73,750 for a nonfatal injury.
- With over 90 percent of motor vehicle crashes caused by human error, employers with high roadway exposure are at risk for a serious crash resulting in a lawsuit against their organization. Damages awarded to plaintiff’s making negligence claims against companies are at an all time high, settlements of $1 million or more are not unusual.
- The development, implementation, enforcement, and monitoring of a strong driver safety program can protect an organization’s human and financial resources. Such a program allows an organization to be proactive in controlling crash risks and is the first line of defense against the potentially staggering costs from motor vehicle crashes involving employees.
via 10 Facts Employers Must Know – Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.
Texting while driving is a growing trend, and a national epidemic, quickly becoming one of the country’s top killers. Drivers assume they can handle texting while driving and remain safe, but the numbers don’t lie.
Texting While Driving Causes:
- 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
- 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
- 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts
- Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents
Texting While Driving Is:
- About 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated
- The same as driving after 4 beers – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
- The number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers
Texting While Driving:
- Makes you 23X more likely to crash – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
- Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
- Takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country
- Slows your brake reaction speed by 18% – HumanFactors & Ergonomics Society
- Leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road
via Texting and Driving Statistics.
Americans take 233 billion trips in cars each year. Of those, about one out of every two thousand trips are taken by those who are driving under the influence of alcohol. Yet, almost one out of every three traffic deaths involve drunk driving.
So a proportionally tiny amount of bad behavior is one of the major causes of death and injury on our roadways.
Every 53 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash (9,878 people in total in 2011). Every 90 seconds, someone is injured because of this entirely preventable crime.
About one-third of the drunk driving problem – arrests, crashes, deaths, and injuries – comes from repeat offenders. At any given point we potentially share the roads with 2 million people with three or more drunk driving offenses. Taking away their licenses isn’t enough; 50-75% of them drive anyway. This is why we need to require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders – we can stop these offenders before they repeat their crimes.
Two-thirds of the drunk driving problem comes from people who, before they kill or injure themselves or others, have yet to be arrested. That’s why we need to support law enforcement to help deter drunk drivers through proven solutions like sobriety checkpoints. It’s also why we strongly support research into technology that will eliminate drunk driving.
via MADD – About Drunk Driving.
Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction. While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction.
via CDC – Distracted Driving – Motor Vehicle Safety – Injury Center.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children in the US. Buckling up is the best way to save lives and reduce injuries. Child passenger restraint laws result in more children being buckled up. Only 2 out of every 100 children live in states that require car seat or booster seat use for children age 8 and under. A third of children who died in crashes in 2011 were not buckled up. We—especially parents and caregivers—can do more to protect children on the road. Parents and caregivers can keep children safe by:Knowing how to use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Using them on every trip, no matter how short. Setting a good example by always using a seat belt themselves.
via CDC – Child Passenger Safety | Vital Signs.