You drink, you drive ... you lose
Army leaders from various formations across the island of Okinawa gathered Dec. 16 to proclaim December as Drunk, Drugged, Driving Prevention Month and called upon Soldiers, civilians, family members and contractors to recognize and promote awareness of the impaired driving problem, especially during the holiday season.
The senior Army leaders partnered with the Army Substance Abuse Prevention team, safety personnel, the Provost Marshal's Office and other agencies from U.S. Army Garrison Okinawa to raise awareness and discuss the issue, which not only negatively affects Soldiers, the Army and its mission, but communities as well.
According to ASAP officials, impaired driving is a leading cause of death for people under 30.
"It's a campaign focused on education, prevention and deterrence," said Jim Lovato, ASAP manager. "During this time of year, we have a lot more personnel getting together, traveling to see families," he said.
Lovato also noted that single Soldiers serving overseas aren't left with a lot of options during the holidays and that it is crucial to reach out to them.
"This is a time when we really need to concentrate on Soldiers and help prevent them from getting DUIs and DWAIs," he said.
December is annually designated as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (often referred to as 3D Month). In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths, according to the Department of Justice. 3D Month reminds us to "Designate before we Celebrate" and encourages safe and sober driving.