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Drive sober, arrive safely for holidays

Published: Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

During the holidays, there are many celebrations with family and friends and other activities, and travel increases accordingly on America’s roadways. Unfortunately, drunken and drugged driving increases as well, including youths who make the decision to drink or use drugs and drive.

The best gift you can give your loved ones this holiday season is to arrive safely: Drive sober. December is National Drunken and Drugged Driving Prevention Awareness Month.

Each year, nearly 11,000 people are killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. Drugs other than alcohol are the main factor in 18 percent of motor vehicle deaths each year. Often, drugs, mixed with alcohol, are the main factor.

Approximately 2,000 young people under the age of 21 die each year as a result of motor vehicle accidents involving underage drinking. No matter the blood alcohol concentration of those driving under the influence, the risk of being involved in a crash is much greater for young people than adults. Younger drivers are less experienced, and alcohol and drugs can have a stronger impairment on younger drivers.

What can you do? Don’t let friends drive drunk or drugged. If you find a friend under the influence of drugs or alcohol, take the keys, offer them a ride, get them a cab, do anything to keep them from driving. Better to make the hard choice to draw the line than to lose a loved one to drunken or drugged driving.

If you find yourself intoxicated, do the same; give your keys to a friend who is sober and can drive you, call a cab, get a ride, or make other arrangements.

The best way to stay safe is to not drink in the first place if there’s any chance you’ll be driving.

Note to readers – Andy Jackson is the marketing coordinator at Sinnissippi Centers, a behavioral health care agency. He can be reached at 800-242-7642.

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