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Fleet safety tip: Detecting drunk driving

According to the NHTSA, about 29 people die each day in the United States in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes – that’s one person every 50 minutes. Drunk driving is a serious issue, and it’s important to know the signs of an impaired person on the road.

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Look for these signs to tell if a driver is under the influence:

Speed and braking

Impaired drivers normally have a hard time judging speed and distance. Watch out for:

  • Sudden acceleration or deceleration for no reason
  • Jerky stops or stopping too short
  • Not stopping soon enough or stopping to quickly

Problems staying within their lane

Intoxicated drivers have difficulty maintaining a steady position. Look for:

  • Weaving through traffic and across lanes
  • Swerving back and forth
  • Drifting towards one side of the road


Impaired drivers often fail to notice traffic conditions, signs, stop lights or other vehicles on the road. Watch for:

  • Slow or late responses to traffic signals
  • Driving the wrong way or in the wrong direction
  • Driving in the dark without headlights
  • Using the wrong turn signal when making turns
  • Almost striking objects or other vehicles

Difficulties with judgement

Impaired drivers are more likely to engage in riskier driving behaviors.

  • Tailgating other vehicles
  • Making illegal turns
  • Erratic lane changes
  • Driving off of the road

Stay aware of possible drunk drivers using these signs. If you see a driver that may be impaired, call 9-1-1 to report the vehicle and keep your distance – for your own safety and the safety of everyone else on the road.

For more Safety driving tips, visit Element's Tips and Advice page

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