NEW YORK (WWTI) — In honor of Impaired Driving Prevention Month, AAA is encouraging drivers to be extra cautious this holiday season.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes every day. In 2019, 10,142 people lost their lives due to drunk driving.
Another factor that could affect a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle is marijuana. NHTSA research shows that the number of drivers testing positive for marijuana increased 48 percent in less than 10 years.
Additionally, AAA research shows that marijuana can impair drivers in a variety of ways, and marijuana use is becoming more commonplace with the legalization of recreational marijuana in 18 states including New York.
According to AAA, people who use both alcohol and marijuana are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road. This is because drivers who combine substances are significantly more likely to speed, text, intentionally run red lights, and drive aggressively than those who don’t, according to data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
AAA Western and Central New York President and CEO Anthony B. Spada said it’s important drivers realize the effect substances can have on drivers.
“Alcohol, marijuana, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications all lead to impairment and create dangerous, life-threatening situations on our roadways when users get behind the wheel,” Spada said. “AAA’s message to drivers: you cannot drive safely while you are impaired.”
The company suggests that drivers choose a designated driver before going out, use a ridesharing or taxi service, or stay with a friend or hotel to avoid impaired driving. They also advised hosts to remind guests of these options as well as to not overserve guests, also serve non-alcoholic drinks, and take guests who are too impaired to drive’s keys.