December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
Car Seat Safety Highlighted in Conjunction with Car Seat Clinic
New Mexico – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and SAFER New Mexico Now, local law enforcement, and distinguished guests and community members held a press conference in Las Cruces on December 20, 2023, to kick off the Holiday Season Impaired Driving Campaign.
Rebecca Walker from (NHTSA) emceed the event and relayed the impacts of driving under the influence and helped bust a few myths about impaired driving. NHTSA reminded all in attendance that December is recognized as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month as proclaimed by President Biden on November 30, 2023.
More parties and festivities celebrating the season brings out more drunk drivers. In 2021, there were 13,384 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities. In 2021, there were 710 children (under 13) killed in passenger vehicles, and more than 100,000 were injured.
“Safe travel this holiday season is crucial, always use ride sharing services, walk or designate a non-drinking friend or family member to get home safely, “said Katrina Latka, State Executive Director, MADD.
This year, regardless of the holiday you celebrate, celebrate responsibly, because there is no excuse for impaired driving! Let’s all get home safe.
“During the holiday season, it’s crucial to highlight traffic safety in our state. We urge everyone to drive responsibly, designate a driver, and buckle up throughout this festive season,” said Jeff Barela, Traffic Safety Director, NMDOT.
Car Seat Safety
Lisa Kelloff with SAFER New Mexico Now spoke on the importance of car seat safety. According to UNM Geospatial Population Studies Traffic Research Unit, there have been a total 28 fatalities for New Mexicans under the age of 21 in 2023 to date. Five of those fatalities were children under the age of 13.
Immediately following the Press Conference SAFER began their two-hour car seat clinic which served seven families in Dona Ana and replaced one outdated car seat.
During these events, like the one held in Las Cruces, nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians work one-on-one with parents and caregivers to educate them on the proper selection, installation, and use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.
During the 2022-2023 fiscal year, Safer conducted:
- A total of 116 car seat events (fitting stations and clinics)
- 629 car seats were inspected, of those inspected, 482 were found to be misused.
- 227 replacement seats were issued to replace unsafe seats.