Two Words: Celebrate Responsibly

Our View: drunken driving accidents and fatalities are so easily
prevented that it is pathetic. Don’t drink and drive: ring in the
New Year and live to tell the tale.
The good news is that drunken driving arrests are down 38 percent in Santa Clara County this holiday season compared to this time last year. The bad news is that so far this holiday season, 138 people have been arrested for drinking and driving. We’re approaching another New Year’s Eve, an evening traditionally filled with parties and drinking.

Don’t follow the example of those 138 people who imbibed and then got behind the wheel of a vehicle. Don’t make New Year’s Eve an evening filled with an easily preventable crash and arrest due to drunken driving. The results of drinking and driving include some of the worst possible ways to welcome 2006:

– in a hospital with painful and possibly life-threatening injuries;

– sporting a toe tag in a morgue;

– in a jail cell facing several thousand dollars of attorney fees, court costs, increased automobile insurance, loss of driving privileges and jail time; or

– learning how to live with the guilt that you severely injured or killed someone.

The worst part of alcohol-related crashes is that they’re so preventable. If you’re in a group, designate a driver who won’t drink. Many restaurants and bars offer free, nonalcoholic drinks for designated drivers. If you don’t have a sober driver, call a cab (Yellow Cab in South County can be reached at 842-6333).

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reminds you to eat plenty of food while you’re celebrating and offers these tips for party hosts to help reduce the number of drunk drivers:

– Don’t push drinks on guests.

– Arrange for free or discounted hotel rooms for guests.

– 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.

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.

The National Commission Against Drunk Driving says that 41 percent of all traffic accidents are alcohol related.

It’s a simple fact that drinking alcohol reduces your ability to drive competently.

If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive.

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