Safe December celebrations: navigating National Impaired Driving Prevention Month 2023

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kailee Reynolds
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

December is known as a joyful month full of festive gatherings with loved ones. During this month the importance of responsible celebration takes precedence.


The month of December comes with an elevated risk of impaired driving incidents. As a result, it has been recognized as “National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.”


Emphasized by the White House’s Proclamation on National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, this month is dedicated to “stopping avoidable traffic deaths and keeping America’s roadways safe by driving sober, raising awareness, helping each other get home, and supporting fellow Americans who are struggling with substance use.”


“Impaired driving is a direct threat to our base security and well-being of our community,” said Alex Aguilar, 47th Flying Training Wing occupational safety division. “By having a sound plan to avoid impaired driving, we contribute to a secure and safe environment to protect our base community.”


As Laughlin embraces in-person events and additional celebrations, where alcohol often plays a role, it is essential to recognize the dangers that often accompany their use.


The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration reported that in 2019, the week between Christmas and New Year's Day witnessed 210 lives lost due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes. That same year, more than 10,000 people died from drunk driving crashes alone.


Prevention is key, and this holiday season offers an opportunity to educate others on the risks of impaired driving. There are no quick fixes for sobering up before driving safely.


Pre-event conversations, such as the following, can set expectations for safe choices during holiday gatherings:


• Plan a safe way home before the party begins.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys. If you are the designated driver, take this role seriously and do not consume alcohol, not even one drink.

• If impaired, use a ride/taxi service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely. Laughlin’s Base Airmen Against Drunk Driving (B.A.A.D.D.) is another opportunity for all base personnel and their families to get home safely. B.A.A.D.D can be reached at (830) 298-4663.

• If you happen to see an impaired driver on the road, contact the appropriate local law enforcement.

• Remember, if you know someone who is about to drive while impaired or ride with an impaired driver, take their keys and help them make other arrangements.

“As we celebrate the holiday season, choosing to not drive impaired is a decision that benefits ourselves, our loved ones, and our community,” said Aguilar. “Having a plan to prevent impaired driving is a gift well given. “


By taking these preventative measures, we can collectively prevent tragedies and transform celebrations into moments of genuine joy by keeping ourselves and our communities safe.