Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

November 17, 2013

Drive safely this season

Thanksgiving rapidly approaches. Soon, it will be Christmas. We’re nearing a time of year for celebrations with family and friends.

But too often, statistics show, drivers get wrapped up in the excitement of the holidays and forget to put the party behind them when they get behind the wheel.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 760 people died as a result of drunk-driving-related traffic crashes during December 2011.

In fact, 29 percent of fatalities during the month of December 2007 to 2011 occurred in crashes that involved drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 or higher.

Troopers with the Indiana State Police Peru Post “aggressively” will look for drunken and impaired drivers on Cass, Fulton, Grant, Miami, Howard, Tipton and Wabash county roads this weekend, Sgt. Tony Slocum announced Wednesday.

Don’t make a poor decision and be the cause of tragedy this week or this holiday season, the NHTSA says. Whether you’ve had one or one too many, hand the keys to a sober driver.

• Designate a sober driver before the celebrations begin; plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night.

• If you are impaired, call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member.

• Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.

• If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.

Nationwide in 2011, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and 31 percent of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes.

In Indiana there were a total of 188,132 crashes in 2011, and 4,938 involved an alcohol impaired driver, resulting in 140 deaths, the state police report.

Please don’t create the next statistic. The best way to ensure your safety is to be responsible and plan ahead. If you are going to drink, designate a sober driver before the party starts, and encourage your friends and family to always do the same.

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