Traffic safety officials expect an increase in impaired drivers for the holidays

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Traffic safety officials expect more impaired drivers on the roads during the holidays, resulting in more accidents. The National Road Safety Foundation is urging motorists to plan ahead before driving.

Whether you are drinking, have taken drugs, or are just tired, traffic safety officials urge you not to get behind the wheel.

They say it is crucial to plan ahead, whether that means designating a driver that won’t be drinking or calling an uber or friend to get you.

The Director of Operations for the National Road Safety Foundation, Michelle Anderson, said Florida is a high-risk state regarding drinking and driving, especially with many coming here on vacation.

Florida also continues to see a jump in deadly crashes. Those numbers increase between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where crash statistics peak for adults.

The National Road Safety Foundation reported that in December 2020, 3,130 died in crashes across the state, up 8% from 2019. The foundation believes the increase is due to a spike in drunk drivers during the pandemic.

Anderson said, “during the time of being quarantined people, they took the drinking a lot. And when they did go out on the roads, they were impaired, and there were a lot of crashes. So between impairment during the pandemic, the drinking and the pair driving and speeding, that’s where our statistics spiked.”

This even includes legal drugs such as allergy medication or prescribed marijuana.

Even if what you take is legal, it is illegal to be impaired behind the wheel.

It isn’t just driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs that can be dangerous; drowsiness can also impair your driving.

“If you find yourself being very fatigued, and don’t get behind the wheel, recognize the signs of being fatigued, which can be difficulty focusing, it can be rubbing your eyes constantly. Those are all telltale signs that you are drowsy. And so that will impair your judgment while you’re behind the wheel,” said Anderson.

If you experience any of those warning signs of fatigue, safety officials recommend pulling over safely and taking a break.

Traffic officials also urge you to slow down and think before getting behind the wheel.

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