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You Drink & Drive. You Lose.
America's Impaired Driving Campaign

Reducing alcohol-related traffic fatalities is one of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) top priorities. The National goal is to lower the death toll to no more than 11,000 by the year 2005. To meet this challenge, NHTSA launched the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. campaign on December 1, 1999, as part of National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

Impaired Driving is an American Tragedy.

In 1998, 15,935 people were killed as a result of impaired driving. More than 300,000 were injured. That's one person dead every 33 minutes and one person injured every two minutes. An estimated 1.5 million people were arrested. In fact, the average American has a 30 percent chance of being killed or injured by an impaired driver during their lifetime. And while the number of alcohol-related fatalities are at an all-time low, impaired driving is still a leading cause of death for people under the age of 30.

The purpose of You Drink & Drive. You Lose. is to help support the hard work already being done nationwide by law enforcement and community leaders to prevent impaired driving in their counties, cities and neighborhoods. The You Drink & Drive. You Lose. goal is to enhance national awareness about the deadly toll impaired driving exacts on America's communities and to generate a greater national urgency to stop the senseless killing and injury on our nation's highways.

What is Impaired Driving and Who is at Risk?

All drivers risk impairment when consuming alcohol or drugs - whether legal over-the-counter and prescription medications or illegal substances such as marijuana, cocaine or other illicit drugs. The campaign's message is a simple one: Make the right choice - don't drink and drive. Yet, we know that thousands of Americans every year continue to make the wrong choices.

There are three high-risk populations identified as most likely to drive while impaired. You Drink & Drive. You Lose. speaks directly to these groups:

  • 21- to 34-year-olds
  • underage drinkers between the ages of 16 and 20
  • high BAC (blood alcohol content) and repeat offenders.

How the Campaign works

While You Drink & Drive. You Lose. serves as the voice for reaching Americans with this lifesaving message, it is much more than just a public service campaign. You Drink & Drive. You Lose. offers a framework for states, counties, cities and neighborhoods to develop their own comprehensive impaired driving prevention programs through the creation of national and local partnerships.

As the campaign develops, campaign partners will reach out to communities and learn from each other. By providing best practices and guidance on how to implement programs that extend beyond traditional efforts, the campaign emphasizes that there is no one solution to this national challenge. Current national campaign partners include the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives, the National Sheriffs' Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and Operation C.A.R.E.

For more information on impaired driving, please visit the NHTSA World Wide Web site at:

(May be reproduced with attribution to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation)

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