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This is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

Holiday celebrations make December an exciting time of the year. But all the merry-making frequently involves alcohol, making December the choice for the National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

The impaired driving statistics are truly alarming:

-- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30 people --one every 51 minutes -- die daily in America in motor vehicle collisions involving a driver impaired by intoxicants.

-- Annually, approximately 30 million U.S. drivers drive drunk at least once, with another 10 million driving while impaired by illegal drugs.

-- Two years ago, almost 10 million people, or nearly 4 percent of the total population, admitted they drove while under the influence of drugs. Those between 18-25 had the highest rate, at over 10 percent.

-- Statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving showed that 57 percent of drivers with fatal injuries had either drugs or alcohol present in their blood at the time of death, and 17 percent had both.

Below are tips to reduce the likelihood of becoming a statistic:

-- Always designate a sober driver.

-- Remember each beer, shot, glass of wine or mixed drink requires an hour for the effects to leave the drinker's body. Alternate drinks with water or soda at the bar.

-- Take a taxi home or call a friend if you've had too much to drink.

-- Never mix prescription or over-the-counter medications with alcohol.

Regardless of any criminal penalties they may face, intoxicated or drugged drivers who cause accidents can be held legally responsible for the injuries they inflict on others.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month," Cindy Kazan, accessed Dec. 18, 2015

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