December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention month, a topic which holds great personal meaning for me and many other Coloradans. Before joining Colorado Access, I had the opportunity to work with the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in their mission to serve victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving and prevent drunk and drugged driving in our communities. In my role, I heard stories of the grief and loss that results from drunk and drugged driving crashes from so many families, friends, and communities who have been impacted. Many of these people have channeled their grief into action through volunteer work or advocacy. Their hope is to prevent another parent, sibling, child, friend, school, or other community from experiencing the loss of a loved one from impaired driving as they have. Today when I am at an event where alcohol is served or I pass by blue signs commemorating victims of impaired driving on the roads, the stories I have heard from victims and survivors frequently return to my thoughts. Unfortunately, chances are that folks reading this have also been personally impacted by drunk or drugged driving crashes or know someone who has. Impaired driving crashes have increased across the country to rates not seen in 20 years, including a 44% increase in the number of fatalities involving an impaired driver since 2019 alone. In Colorado a fatal impaired driving crash occurs approximately every 34 hours. There have been 198 lives lost this year already, in our state alone, to impaired driving. Impaired driving crashes are also 100% preventable, making the loss of life even more difficult to comprehend.
This December and holiday season is a time where each of us, together with our own friends, families and communities can literally save lives. We can make a plan to get home safely and ask others about their plan to do so. When attending an event this holiday season, drivers can elect to stay sober, designate a sober driver, utilize rideshare services or public transit, plan to stay the night, or call another sober person for a ride home. It also isn’t possible to drive home if we don’t drive to an event, so great plans often start before even leaving the house. There are many alternatives to driving impaired – more than I can even list here. I invite you to join me in making a commitment to ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities to make our roads safe, and to make it home safely from whatever holiday celebrations we are looking forward to this year.
Resources and Additional Information:
If you have or someone you know has been impacted by impaired driving, you can receive free services including advocacy, emotional support, and referrals for other financial, educational, and assistance resources.
- To contact a MADD victim advocate in your area or if you need to speak with someone immediately, call the 24-hour Victim/Survivor Help Line at: 877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435)
- The Attorney General’s Victim Assistance Program: gov/resources/victim-assistance/
For information about impaired driving prevention efforts and donation or volunteer opportunities visit: