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December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

The Erie County STOP-DWI Program is a County Government Office, established under New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, and charged with coordinating Erie County's alcohol traffic safety (drunk driving) efforts. The project's mission is to reduce the number of persons killed or injured in drunken driving crashes in Erie County. Its function is to promote drunken driving countermeasures as an enforcement, judicial, and community priority.

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Driving May be Affected by Medications

While drunk and drugged driving is a national focus during the holiday period, many people notice driving problems of all kinds due to closer exposure to relatives and loved ones. Family, friends and caregivers are usually the first to realize when aging loved ones are driving unsafely or "at risk" - wanting to protect the driver, but often not knowing what to do about problems, or where to turn for help. By bringing together experts in the fields of aging, health, law enforcement, and driving with a focus on problem-solving, Erie County's Older Driver Family Assistance Help Network makes it easy for caregivers to address impaired, at-risk, or unsafe situations.

While families may notice drunk or drugged driving, they may find that many medications can affect driving at any time of the year. General recommendations would be:

  • always carry with you a list of all medications (both prescription and over the counter) with you,
  • review that list with your health care provider (doctor, pharmacist): Will it make you drowsy? Could it make your vision blurry? Could it slow your reaction time? Might it throw off your balance (affecting your driving ability)?

If you think a loved one's ability to drive safely is impaired by any cause, please call a cab for them. The holiday season is a time of greater law enforcement, and with crowded, slippery roads, greater danger if reaction times are slowed.

Through a central number (716) 858-8526 or www.erie.gov/driving, the Help Network supplies information about services to help families cope with their concerns, linking them to services, programs, resource information, and support in addressing sensitive family situations. There are often several options in most situations and members will help you explore them.

From the Sheriff:

Perhaps the greatest threat to our daily safety is the possibility of being injured in an automobile accident. Death, injury and destruction is especially tragic since in can be prevented. Little thought is given the number of lives saved as a result of the enforcement efforts from our police.

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