White House Drug Czar Kicks of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

White House Drug Czar Kicks of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
 
          WASHINGTON – Citing the dangers posed by drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs, President Barack Obama has proclaimed December “National Impaired Driving Prevention Month,” Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, announced today.
            “During this holiday season, we must all be especially vigilant in protecting our families, friends, and neighbors from drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” the President said in the proclamation.
            “Although we have succeeded in decreasing the number of drunk drivers in recent years, we have seen a disturbing increase in Americans driving under the influence of drugs,” the President said.  “Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs poses the same risks as drunk driving, and we must do more to stop this growing epidemic.”
            The recently released National Roadside Survey, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, showed that 16 percent of nighttime drivers on weekends tested positive for drug use. During the daytime hours, about 11 percent of motorists tested positive.
            The survey showed that the drugs most commonly used by nighttime drivers were marijuana, cocaine, and prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
            “Drugs impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory,” said Director Kerlikowske.  “These effects can be dangerously magnified when the drugs are also consumed with alcohol, even in cases where a driver’s blood alcohol level is below legal limits.”
            Kerlikowske said Federal, state, and local agencies are taking steps to prevent and reduce drunk and drugged driving.  Through the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) program, the Federal government supports efforts of state and local jurisdictions to detect and arrest drug-impaired drivers.  The DEC program also provides training to prosecutors and judges to help states successfully prosecute drug-impaired drivers.
            Other Federal programs focus on prevention.  The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has developed free resources to prevent drugged, drunk, and distracted driving among teenagers.
 
For more information on preventing drugged driving, visit:
http://www.theantidrug.com/advice/teens-today/drugged-drunk-and-distracted-driving/default.aspx
 
To view the Presidential Proclamation, visit:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/2009impaireddriving.prc_.rel_.pdf

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