Get this holiday message

You’d think it wouldn’t need to be said any more. You’d think
societal pressure and basic human intelligence would be enough.
You’d think it wouldn’t need to be said any more. You’d think societal pressure and basic human intelligence would be enough. But statistics show they are not. So, we’ll join the chorus of voices this holiday season repeating the annual message.

PAY ATTENTION TO THIS: Don’t drink and drive.

According to the National Center for Policy Analyses, if you’re driving while legally intoxicated, you’re 13 times more likely to cause a fatal accident than a sober driver.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates a drunk driving arrest costs the offender from $7,800 to $10,800 in fines, attorney fees and increased auto insurance premiums. That figure doesn’t include lost wages, lost freedom, lost peace of mind and lost dignity.

Driving while drunk is deadly dangerous, stupid and expensive. And it doesn’t need to happen. If you’re going to a Christmas or New Year’s party, designate a driver who won’t drink. Many restaurants and bars offer free non-alcoholic drinks for designated drivers. If you’re alone at an event, call a cab (Yellow Cab in South County is at 842-6333). Whatever you do, make a commitment now that you won’t drive while impaired.

The traditions of the holidays – resolutions, exchanging gifts, celebrations with family and friends – are complete without the practice of drunk driving. Yet, despite the efforts of police, politicians and volunteers, alcohol-related fatalities have increased in California for the last three years.

In case you’re wavering on the importance of choosing a designated driver, remember that in Santa Clara County, the annual “Avoid the 13” campaign starts Friday. Officers from police agencies throughout the county will be working overtime to catch anyone reckless enough to drive while impaired.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving offers tips to help reduce the number of drunk drivers:

• Eat plenty of food while you’re celebrating.

• If you’re hosting a party, don’t push drinks on guests.

• Office party hosts should consider arranging for free or discounted hotel rooms for guests.

• Party hosts should plan activities and entertainment so that drinking is not the only focus of the event.

• Close the bar at least 90 minutes before the end of the party; only time sobers someone who has been drinking.

Enjoy the holidays, but do it responsibly. Don’t risk your wallet, your freedom and your life, and especially the lives of others, by driving drunk.

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