Officials urge safety at New Year’s
Now that Christmas is over, people are turning their focus to the upcoming New Year’s celebrations but local law enforcement officials know that these celebrations can go from fun to tragedy in a matter of seconds if good judgment and safety are not top priorities.
According to a 2009 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in December there were 753 people killed in crashes that involved drivers or motorcycle riders with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
The report also stated that of the 468 traffic fatalities that occurred on New Year’s Day in 2009, 40 percent of those involved drunk drivers.
Even with all the statistics and data proving how fatal drunk or impaired driving can be, millions of drivers on America’s highways still think they are invincible and they choose to jeopardize their safety and the safety of others on our roads, Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said.
“The message to don’t drink and drive is so simple but there are so many people every year that don’t take that seriously,” he said. “Whether you’ve had way too many drinks or just one drink, it’s not worth it to get behind the wheel and risk your life, the lives of those in your vehicle or the lives of other innocent people on the road.”
Local law enforcement officials recommended these simple tips to keep residents safe over the holidays:
• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home;
• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement; and
• If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take that person’s keys and help him or her make other arrangements to get home safely.
Oliver said law enforcement units will be out over the weekend to make sure residents aren’t impaired behind the wheel.
“We know this is a fun time and a time to celebrate, but no party or experience is worth risking your life or someone else’s life,” Oliver said. “There’s no reason your 2011 holiday season should end in an arrest or in tragedy.”