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President Obama: "Let us pledge to always drive sober"

This year, we join President Obama in promoting safe and responsible driving.

Americans are well aware of the terrible consequences of drunk driving and are increasingly learning about the dangers of drugged driving. More than 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes every year. Driving under the influence of drugs, an increasingly common occurrence, is also dangerous – and preventable.  Every American can play a role in reducing the frequency of these incidents. This is why President Obama observed the month of December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month:

“During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, let us pledge to always drive sober and alert and to avoid distractions behind the wheel. Together, we can help ensure all our people are able to enjoy the holiday spirit and make memories with those they care about while safeguarding the well-being of everyone on the road.” – President Obama

In 2013-2014, the National Roadside Survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that more than 22 percent of drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs. To tackle this increasing problem, the Administration is working tirelessly with Federal, state, and local partners. At the Federal level, the 2015 National Drug Control Strategy, released by ONDCP, aims to reduce drugged driving by raising public awareness, working with states to enact legal reforms to address drugged driving, improving drug tests and data collection on our Nation’s roads, and increasing law enforcement’s ability to identify these drivers.  

In a 2013 report,  the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that drivers are at increased risk of a fatal crash even before their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level reaches the legal limit.  By the time a driver’s BAC reaches 0.08 percent, his or her fatal crash risk has more than doubled. The NTSB 2015 Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements calls for several countermeasures to eliminate substance-impaired driving, including stronger laws, high-visibility enforcement, increased use of ignition interlocks, and targeted measures for repeat offenders. The NTSB also suggests consulting with your doctor to understand possible impairing effects of medications.   

During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we recommitted to preventing accidents due to drugged and drunk driving by acting responsibly and promoting responsible behavior in those around us.  

Learn more about what you can do to encourage safe driving:

Michael P. Botticelli is the Director of National Drug Control Policy. Christopher A. Hart is the Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and Mark R. Rosekind is the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.