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President Obama Proclaims December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

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Drive High? PosterPresident Barack Obama signed a proclamation on Wednesday, November 30, declaring December 2011 “National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.” As a service to our readers, we are publishing the proclamation in full:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Though we have made progress in the fight to reduce drunk driving, our Nation continues to suffer an unacceptable loss of life from traffic accidents that involve drugs, alcohol, and distracted driving. To bring an end to these heartbreaking outcomes, we must take action by promoting rigorous enforcement measures and effective substance abuse prevention programs. During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we recommit to preventing tragedy before it strikes by ensuring our family members and friends stay safe, sober, and drug-free on the road.

President Obama mentions distracted driving. On 11/10, this blog reported:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal car accidents compared to all other drivers. Not wearing seat belts, distracted driving, and inexperience behind the wheel are the major contributors to teen-related crashes.

As this blog reported on 11/30:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 15.2% of all motor vehicle-related deaths in 2009, of those resulting from distraction, 18% involved cell phones. ‘Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior, and tragically, teen drivers are the most at risk of being involved in a fatal distracted driving crash,’ said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

On 11/7, this blog reported:

AAA is hoping that the results of a new study will draw attention to a major problem on our roads and get Congress to approve a safety-focused bill. The study — ‘Crashes vs. Congestion — What’s the Cost to Society?’ — in which AAA compares the cost to society of traffic accidents vs. traffic congestion, analyzed the financial damage of crashes in 99 urban areas in the U.S., and found that each fatal motor vehicle crash costs an average of $6 million.
 AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet, said, ‘… at $300 billion annually, crashes cost our society more than three times the amount of congestion. This report further underscores the importance of a long-term, multi-year federal transportation bill that will provide the necessary and sustained investments that lead to better and safer roads for all Americans. Almost 33,000 people — 635 per week — die on U.S. roadways each year and that’s unacceptable.’

President Obama’s proclamation continues:

As we strive to reduce the damage drug use inflicts upon our communities, we must address the serious and growing threat drunk, drugged, and distracted driving poses to all Americans. Alcohol and drugs, both illicit and prescribed, can impair judgment, reaction time, motor skills, and memory, eroding a person’s ability to drive safely and responsibly. Distracted driving, including the use of electronic equipment behind the wheel, can also put lives at risk. To confront these issues, my Administration is working to decrease the incidence of drugged driving by 10 percent over the next 5 years as part of our 2011 National Drug Control Strategy.

President Obama mentions distracted driving and the use of electronic equipment behind the wheel. On 10/17, this blog wrote about the dichotomy between automakers’ plans to enhance cars with more and more infotainment features — in order to market their vehicles — and the fact that those same features cause drivers to become distracted and at risk of accidents.

As Meyer Levin wrote in FairWarning: Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, D.C., said, “One has to watch what auto companies do, versus what they say. While they say distracted driving is unsafe, they are making hundreds of millions of dollars by selling distracted driving technology.”

President Obama’s proclamation continues:

We are collaborating with State and local governments to bolster enforcement efforts, implement more effective legislation, and support successful, evidence-based prevention programs. These ongoing initiatives are supplemented by our Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which aims to deter impaired driving during the holiday season.

As this blog reported on August 31, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a multi-year nationwide campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” to prevent the many injuries and deaths that occur due to drunk driving.

On his blog Fast Lane, Ray LaHood, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), wrote: “According to NHTSA data, fatal crashes involving alcohol occur most frequently between midnight and 3:00 a.m. In fact, during that window, two-thirds of all fatal crashes involve a drunk driver, which amounts to one drunk driving fatality every 23 minutes.”

President Obama’s proclamation continues:

While enforcement and legislation are critical elements of our strategy, we know that the parents, educators, and community leaders who work with young people every day are our Nation’s best advocates for responsible decisionmaking. Research suggests that younger drivers are particularly susceptible to the hazards of drugged driving. To help our families and communities build awareness about impaired driving, my Administration released a toolkit that includes information about drugged driving, discussion guides, and tip sheets for preventing driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. These materials are available with a variety of other resources at: www.TheAntiDrug.com.

Regarding the hazards of drugged driving, on 10/18, this blog reported:

A new study says that people driving while high on marijuana are almost three times as likely to wind up in an accident. In the study, published recently by the journal Epidemiologic Reviews, researchers analyzed information from nine studies done in six other countries on marijuana use and motor vehicle accidents. The study’s authors found that marijuana use within three hours of driving increases a driver’s risk of an accident by 2.7 times, and the more pot a driver smokes (and the more often), the greater the chance that he or she will have a traffic accident. Other than alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly detected drug in drivers.

President Obama’s proclamation continues:

All of us have the power to effect change and work to end drunk, drugged, and distracted driving in America. In our homes and communities, we can engage our youth and discuss the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. In our clinics and hospitals, health care providers can redouble their efforts to recognize patients with substance abuse problems and offer medical intervention. And in governing bodies across our country, State and local officials can explore new legal actions that will hold drugged drivers accountable and encourage them to seek treatment. As we come together with our loved ones this holiday season, let us renew our commitment to drive safely, act responsibly, and live drug-free.

Drugged driving is not something to be taken lightly, as this blog reported on 8/26:

Driving impaired by any drug is illegal, and just as deadly and dangerous, as drinking and driving,” said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “It doesn’t matter if the drugs are legal and were obtained with a prescription, medical marijuana card or purchased over-the-counter.  If the drugs impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle you will be arrested for DUI.”

President Obama’s proclamation continues:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 2011 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. I urge all Americans to make responsible decisions and take appropriate measures to prevent impaired driving.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA

As this blog reported on 11/2, the following link provides helpful information for preventing texting while driving: http://www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org/#home

Image by Parents. The Anti-Drug., used under Fair Use: Reporting.

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