The Four D’s of Impaired Driving
By: Isabelle Boullier | SADD National President
Impaired driving goes far beyond the notion of drunk driving. In the world of transportation safety, types of impairment behind the wheel are often classified in categories that we like to call the “four D’s”: drunk, drugged, distracted, and/or drowsy. Each of these classifications of impairment inhibits a person’s ability to safely carry out the task of driving by hindering focus and performance.
Young people naturally have a gravitational pull toward taking risks, often leading to destructive decisions, particularly in their early teenage years. With that being said, it is important to educate teens that are learning to drive not only about hands-on driving skills, but also the role that their mental, emotional, and physical health can play behind the wheel. Again, impaired driving is more than being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Lack of sleep can cause dangerous driving situations, as well as distractions. When we say distractions, this refers to not only your phone, radio, food, or makeup, but also your mind. If your mental and emotional health are not in check, it is not wise to drive. The risk involved with driving drunk, drugged, distracted, and/or drowsy simply is not worth the risk. If you are not feeling your very best, there is no shame in asking a friend or family member for a ride.
Impaired driving – in any form – is dangerous, and 100% preventable. As someone directly impacted by the aftermath of impaired driving crashes, I can attest that the experience is life-changing. Drunk driving crashes leave a detrimental impact that lasts a lifetime. It can leave families and communities devastated and traumatized. It’s not worth it to get behind the wheel and potentially injure yourself, your passengers, or others sharing the road with you. One person’s decision to drive impaired has the potential to create an entire ripple effect. Whether you are a novice or seasoned driver, it is your responsibility to be respectful of your passengers and others you share the road with by driving free of impairment. Please, get where you are going safely, SADD Nation!