Health department recognizes National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

LAKE COUNTY — December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, and Oceana LEADS and District Health Department No. 10 want to remind community members to stay off Santa’s naughty list this year by not driving impaired.

The holidays often are a time of celebration when people give themselves permission to indulge in their favorite holiday treats. However, these festivities often include alcohol and other impairing substances, making the holidays one of the most dangerous times on the already difficult Michigan roads.

Alcohol and drugs, including marijuana, affect the way people drive — putting drivers, passengers and other vehicles on the road at risk. Drugs can alter perceptions, attention, balance, coordination, reaction time and other skills necessary to remain safe and alert on the road.

Like drunk driving, it is nationally illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, legally or illegally obtained — no exceptions. If a person is feeling high, buzzed, stoned, wasted, or drunk, they are impaired and should not be behind the wheel.

Oceana LEADS and DHD No. 10 encourage people to celebrate responsibly this holiday season.

If indulging in substances, have a backup plan for travel and/or designate a sober individual to drive or keep vehicle keys until individuals are no longer impaired and can safely drive.

Drunk and drugged driving deaths are preventable, and drivers must remember that driving impaired by any substance — drugs or alcohol — is deadly and illegal behavior.