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Celebrating Our Independence From Drinking And Driving

A special message from Janice Podzimek, Drunk & Distracted Driving – Survivor Advocate for the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona.

 


As we approach the Fourth of July, it’s important to remember that this holiday isn’t just about flags, fireworks, and food, although that’s a good start. It’s also about the freedom we enjoy as citizens. But with that freedom comes responsibility, especially when it comes to drinking and driving.

 

Celebrating Our Independence

We urge you to be extra careful this season, even if you’re a pedestrian. Between 30-50% of people not in cars sustained a TBI while they were drunk and about one-third were under the influence of other drugs

Celebrating Our Independence From Drinking And Driving

A special message from Janice Podzimek, Drunk & Distracted Driving – Survivor Advocate for the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona.

As we approach the Fourth of July, it’s important to remember that this holiday isn’t just about flags, fireworks, and food, although that’s a good start. It’s also about the freedom we enjoy as citizens. But with that freedom comes responsibility, especially when it comes to drinking and driving.

We urge you to be extra careful this season, even if you’re a pedestrian.

Celebrating Our Independence

Far too many people lose their lives or are seriously injured as a result of drunk driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year there are more than 10,000 fatalities annually involving alcohol-impaired drivers. What’s more, there are countless people who experience brain injury due to others’ drunk driving.

We urge you to be extra careful this season, even if you’re a pedestrian. Between 30-50% of people not in cars sustained a TBI while they were drunk and about one-third were under the influence of other drugs.

There are many things about brain injury resulting from this dangerous behavior that you need to know. Here are a few:

  1. Even a small amount of alcohol can increase the risk of a car crash. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, even a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as low as 0.02 can increase the risk of an accident.
  2. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBI contributes to about 30% of all injury deaths each year.
  3. The effects of TBI can be long-lasting and severe. Depending on the severity of the injury, a person with TBI may experience physical, cognitive, and emotional changes that can last for weeks, months, or even years.
  4. Repeated exposure to alcohol can increase the risk of long-term brain damage. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to brain shrinkage, decreased cognitive function, and an increased risk of dementia.
  5. Even a mild TBI can have long-term consequences. A study published in the journal Neurology found that people who had suffered a mild TBI had a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease later in life.
  6. Women may be more vulnerable to brain injury from alcohol. A study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research concluded that women who drank heavily had more damage to the white matter in their brains than men.
  7. Brain injury can occur even in low-speed collisions at speeds as low as 5-10 mph, which is why it’s important to always wear a seatbelt and avoid drinking and driving.

We have some suggestions to keep in mind this holiday season, and all year round, for that matter.

If you’re going out to celebrate, make sure you have a plan for getting home safely. Designate a sober driver or arrange for a ride-sharing service, If you’re hosting, offer non-alcoholic beverages, and don’t let anyone drive who has had too much to drink.

Finally, remember the potential disastrous outcomes. Getting behind the wheel while under the influence can have devastating consequences, leading to brain injury or death. You will also likely face legal and financial repercussions for years to come.

This Fourth of July, let’s celebrate our independence from drinking and driving with a commitment to ourselves and our communities to stay safe and sober on the road. By doing so, we can help ensure that everyone can enjoy the enduring freedom that this holiday represents.

ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members and professionals.

What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona:

  • Works with Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
  • Houses Arizona Brain Health Resource Center
  • Hosts virtual and in-person support groups for survivors and families
  • Has Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Response team with peer support, training, and family wraparound services
  • Facilitates Brain Health Advisory Council
  • Manages statewide Help Line: 888-500-9165

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