WAXAHACHIE

President Donald Trump recently joined every president since 1981 to declare December as National Drugged and Drunk Driving Awareness Month, or more recently, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, the 10,874 people killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2017 amounted to one death every 48 minutes. Drugged driving — being impaired by any substance other than alcohol — is an increasing problem on Texas roadways, according to law enforcement.

Drug Prevention Resources is responding by offering impaired driving awareness classes at the local driving schools in Waxahachie and Ennis.

Shelley Miller, DPR staff member who conducts the Ennis classes once a month and twice each month during the summer, says that students are educated in the short- and long-term effects of alcohol on the body. Fatal vision goggles are even used to simulate alcohol and marijuana impairment and a “real-time” awareness.

The classes are provided through DPR’s IMPACT Communities coalitions. Miller is the coalition coordination for IMPACT Ennis.

“We are proud to offer these educational sessions to community members,” stated Becky Vance, DPR president and CEO. “All too often kids think, ‘it will never happen to me,’ but when they get experiential learning that shows them how impairment looks and feels, their attitudes tend to change. And that’s what it’s all about.”

DPR is Texas’ oldest non-profit agency focused on preventing substance use disorders among children and teens. The organization operates six IMPACT Coalitions.

Each coalition is a group of community volunteers who work together to provide public education and public policy strategies to prevent youth substance use disorder and build healthy, drug-free communities.

The declaration by President Trump also comes a little over one month since the Texas Department of Transportation launched a new social media campaign, #EndTheStreakTX.

According to a TxDOT press release, at least one person has died every day since Nov. 7, 2000. The department hopes the campaign will remind drivers that "it's a shared responsibility among roadway users and engineers to keep our roads safe."

“We all have the power to end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways,” stated Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan in the release. “Don’t drink and drive; put away the cell phone; buckle up; and obey traffic laws. Be the driver you would want next to you, in front of you or behind you. Together, we can end the streak.”

According to TxDOT, fatalities resulting from vehicle crashes on Texas roadways have numbered more than 66,000 since Nov. 7, 2000. The leading causes are the failure to stay in one lane, alcohol and speed.

For more information about Drug Prevention Resources and its classes offered, visit drugfreegeneration.org.