December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Earl Rivers
  • Hurlburt Field ADAPT Program

Along with the holidays, communities nationwide will observe another important period in December: National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The nationwide initiative aims to encourage all Americans to make responsible decisions and to take appropriate actions in preventing driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Coinciding with the holiday season, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month can serve as a reminder for Americans to celebrate responsibly.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is often a rise in drunk-driving related deaths during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Data provided by the NHTSA shows that approximately 32 drunk-driving related deaths occur in the U.S. every day and about one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers.

In 2020, more than 11,654 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the U.S.

To further promote responsible use of alcohol, the National Institutes of Health recommends low-risk drinking. For men, this means consuming no more than 4 drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week; and, for women, it is consuming no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks per week.

A standard drink contains about 0.5 ounces of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in 12 ounces of regular beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Alcohol and drugs, both illicit and prescribed, can impair judgment, reaction time, vision, motor skills, and memory; consequently, degrading an individual’s ability to drive safely.

Additional data provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is listed below: 

•In fatal crashes in 2020, the highest percentages of alcohol-impaired drivers (i.e., with BACs of 0.08 or higher) were drivers between the ages of 21-24 (26%) and for drivers between the ages of 25-34 (26%). Additionally, men are most likely to be involved in this type of crash - with four male alcohol-impaired drivers involved for each female alcohol-impaired driver involved.

• In 2020, the percentages of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes by vehicle type were:

 -Motorcycle operators: 27%

 -Drivers of passenger cars: 23%

 -Drivers of light trucks (i.e., pickups, SUVs, and vans): 19%

 -Drivers of larger trucks: 3%

•Thirty percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities involved alcohol-impaired drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) at, or above, 0.08.

• In 2020, among the 11,654 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities, 7,831 were crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of 0.15 or higher.

• On average, a DUI can cost $10,000 dollars in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, and car towing, among other expenses.

To better educate individuals on the importance of responsible use of alcohol, the NIH Rethinking Drinking initiative offers numerous online interactive tools and resources (i.e., Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) calculator; drink-size calculator; cocktail-content calculator; alcohol-spending calculator; alcohol-calorie calculator; drinking-tracker & drinking-analyzer cards; etc), which are accessible via the following link:

For more information, contact the Hurlburt Field Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) Program at 850-881-4237.

The ADAPT Program provides a wide range of prevention education, outreach, evaluation, counseling and treatment services to active duty military members. The ADAPT Program is located at 130 LeTourneau Circle, Building # 90311 (Near the Hurlburt Field Youth Center).

Additionally, family members of active duty personnel are able to contact TriCare-Humana East at 800-444-5445 for information and assistance in obtaining substance use evaluation, counseling and treatment services.

Below are a few holiday safety tips:

 • Plan a safe way home before the party begins.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys. If you are the designated driver, take this role seriously and do not consume alcohol, not even one drink.

• If impaired, use a ride/taxi service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.

• If you happen to see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.

• Remember, if you know someone who is about to drive while impaired or ride with an impaired driver, take their keys and help them make other arrangements.