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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2020
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: IF YOU ARE DRINKING, DO NOT DRIVE

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

NEW CITY, NY, - This holiday season will look different as the COVID-19 pandemic may be putting more people on the road. As more people choose to drive rather than fly, take public transportation, or taxis and rideshare services this year because of fear of infection, this can also result in more drivers on the road who are impaired by alcohol and more drunk driving fatalities in 2020 than in prior years.

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 40% of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year's involve drunk drivers. Another sobering fact - approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher). In 2018, there were 10,511 people killed in these preventable crashes. In New York State, as well as every other state and the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, it's illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. However, even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents to these take steps from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • If you will be drinking, plan on not driving. Plan your safe ride home before you start the party. Designate a sober driver ahead of time.
  • If you drink, do not drive for any reason. Stay home or phone a sober friend or family member.
  • If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange a sober ride home. If you're hosting a party where alcohol will be served, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone's life.

"Driving while impaired not only can result in driver's license revocation, fines, and jail time, but you can also be involved in a traffic crash that causes serious injury or death. And remember to always wear your seat belt—it's your best defense against impaired drivers," said Dr. Ruppert.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/index.html and the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving

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