Although fewer vehicles are on the road due to COVID-19 restrictions, the risk of drunk driving crashes during the holidays remains high. This is because the holidays are historically a time that sees an increase in drunk driving, which kills around 300 people each year between Christmas and New Year’s Day. According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, nearly half of all traffic deaths in Washington involve an impaired driver, and around 100 people are arrested for impaired driving each day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Truck drivers are at a much higher risk of being in an alcohol-related crash during the holidays. However, the risks mainly come from other motorists, as national traffic safety data repeatedly shows truck drivers to be the least impaired users of the road. Tighter safety regulations and better training have kept drunk driving among truck drivers at low levels for over twenty years. This means that truck drivers must stay alert to the possibility of impaired drivers traveling the lanes around them.

As state and local law enforcement agencies step up holiday drunk driving patrols, truck drivers can help spot and report drunk drivers too. Your vigilance on the road can help keep roadways safe for everyone.

Ten signs that a motorist near you may be drunk or high:

  • Tailgating, weaving, swerving, or driving into opposing traffic.
  • Straddling the center lane marker.
  • Almost striking an object, curb, or vehicle.
  • Driving with headlights off at night.
  • Improper signaling.
  • Turning abruptly or illegally.
  • Slow response to traffic signals.
  • Quick acceleration or deceleration.
  • Stopping without cause or erratic braking.
  • Driving slower than 10 mph below the speed limit.

What to do when you see a drunk driver:

  • Stay as far away as possible from the other vehicle. Don’t try to pass it or get the driver’s attention.
  • Try to get the vehicle’s license plate number and make, model, color, etc. Do not risk your own safety while trying to get this information.
  • Call 911. Pull over safely before making the call. Describe the vehicle and give its exact location, including the name of the road or cross streets and its direction of travel. Give your reasons for suspecting why the driver may be impaired.

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