Alcohol And Drugs Are Common Link in Fatal Crashes [AUDIO]
We've heard the messages over and over again. Drinking, ingesting drugs and driving is dangerous. Yet, more than half of drivers across the United States fatally injured in car accidents had alcohol or drugs in their system at the time of the accident.
Of more than 20,000 fatally injured drivers between 2005 and 2009, 57 percent tested positive for at least one drug, with alcohol being the most common. That's according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"What we need is a culture shift, what we need is for every organization to reinforce that message. We need the school systems and parents to reinforce that message," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Unfortunately, the only time it seems to truly hit home is when it happens to someone we know and we love or a friend and that's frankly unacceptable. We need people to seriously wake up and take their safety and the safety of others into account and be responsible."
"We hear about drug-related crashes, alcohol-related crashes, distracted driving crashes and these are all things that are preventable. These crashes don't have to happen as a result of impaired driving and people need to become much more responsible and take that factor out of it. There are plenty of people that would be happy to be designated drivers. There are plenty of people who wouldn't mind getting a call in the middle of the night to pick up a loved one who is too impaired to drive," said Noble. "It's just not taken seriously enough and unfortunately, it's an all too common finding that alcohol and drugs play a role in fatal crashes."
It comes back to what Noble calls, the 'invincibility factor.'
"As people get older, they have more of a sense of responsibility, they have children and a sense of community. Unfortunately, with teenagers and young adults, they have that invincible mindset that 'this will never happen to me' or 'I got away with it once.' You often hear youngsters saying that they've practiced drinking and driving and they've mastered it. That's a horrible thing to say. It's similar to people saying they're good at texting behind the wheel. Nobody is good at it. Nobody is proficient at it. Nobody should be doing it and yet people have this invincible mindset. The consequence is usually fatal injury, death, or becoming paralyzed," said Noble. "The consequences of ignorance are mindblowing."