-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The holiday season is
one of the most dangerous times of the year on U.S. roads. Between
Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, as many as 900 people nationwide
could die in crashes caused by drunk driving, safety officials
"We've made tremendous strides in changing the social norms associated with drinking and driving, but the problem is far from solved," Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director for the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said in an association news release.
"Alcohol-impaired driving claimed 10,322 lives last year, an increase of 4.6 percent compared with 2011," he said. "That's an alarming statistic and one we're committed to address."
The GHSA and its members -- which include all 50 state highway
safety offices -- are joining federal and state police to launch
the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over program. The initiative
combines high-visibility law enforcement with advertising and
grassroots efforts to detect and deter drunk driving.
The program started Dec. 13 and continues through Jan. 1.
In an effort to reduce drunk driving, 18 states have
ignition-interlock laws for first-time drunk-driving offenders. The
GHSA is encouraging other states to implement such laws.
The association also is partnering with the U.S. National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention on a long-term study to assess best
practices in state ignition-interlock laws. The results are
expected to be released in early 2014.
The GHSA also is backing efforts to develop and test new
technology called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety. The
system has in-car sensors that measure blood alcohol levels by
breath or touch to determine if the driver is below the legal limit
for impairment. Although it holds promise, the technology is still
in the early phase of development, according to the news
Many states have stepped up roadside enforcement programs and
The California Office of Traffic Safety, meanwhile, offers a
smartphone app that provides maps showing the locations of bars
that offer free, nonalcoholic drinks and other incentives to sober
designated drivers. The Maryland Highway Safety Office provides
workshops to demonstrate how alcohol affects a person's ability to
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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