More than 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the U.S. in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s one alcohol-impaired driving death every 50 minutes.
Driving under the influence of drugs can also result in deadly crashes. A recent Harris Poll survey found that while 91% of Americans believe driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and 87% say those who do so are a hazard to others on the road, just 40% believe it is contributing to more motor vehicle crashes.
“Driving under the influence of marijuana is a concern,” said Robby Buen, Insurance Manager with AAA Oregon/Idaho. “As more states move to legalize recreational marijuana usage, drivers should be aware that it’s still illegal and dangerous to drive while marijuana-impaired.”
To keep roads safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians, follow these tips before you buckle up:
For drivers – plan ahead so it’s easy to make the right choice if you’re impaired
- Choose a designated driver who agrees to stay alcohol- and drug-free before you go out.
- Download a ridesharing app like Lyft, or save your local taxi company’s number into your phone so a safe ride is available with the touch of a button.
- Stay with a friend or book a nearby hotel room if you are impaired.
- Don’t combine alcohol with prescription drugs. Visit Roadwise Rx, a free tool from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, to see how your medications affect your driving safety.
For hosts – plan parties to maximize safety and minimize liability
- Offer non-alcoholic drink options and serve food.
- Never serve minors.
- Stop serving alcohol before the party ends.
- Consider hiring a professional bartender who can recognize signs of impairment and limit alcohol.
- Remind guests to plan ahead and designate a sober driver.
- Don’t be afraid to take away car keys from guests who are too impaired to drive.
- Help arrange alternate transportation or accommodations for guests who need it.
For everyone – take steps to protect yourself
- Always wear your seatbelt. Nearly half of all vehicle occupants killed in car accidents were not wearing seat belts, according to NHTSA.
- If you see someone who appears to be impaired when you’re on the road, keep a safe distance and call 9-1-1 if it is safe to do so. Do not attempt to stop the impaired driver.
- Talk to friends and family about the dangers of taking drugs and driving, and discuss the risks with teenage drivers before they take the driving test.
Call your AAA insurance agent or 1-866-222-7868 or visit your local AAA service center for more information about auto and home insurance.