Everyone knows the dangers of drinking and driving, and everyone knows the partying that goes on New Year's Eve, so there simply is no excuse for even thinking about getting behind the wheel while intoxicated tonight.
In other words, before we wish you a hope for a wonderful and fulfilled 2013, we are wishing you a safe day today - and tonight. Nobody needs to be preached to about this. But then again, maybe they do. Just ask the police departments and highway patrol in our areas. Check out the court blotter we run daily on our pages regarding impaired driving. It always spikes around the holidays. There really isn't any excuse for doing it any other day of the year. So don't do it today. The worst that can happen is death or serious injuries. Then there is also the cost and shame factors of getting pulled over, even if not involved in an accident. A DUI conviction will trail you like shadow.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety reported that one out of every three traffic fatalities in 2011 were alcohol related. Wouldn't it be great if Ohio could cut its driving fatalities by 33 percent just by people realizing the dangers of intoxicated driving?
There were 347 fatal crashes in 2011, which investigating law enforcement said were caused by alcohol consumption. The state public safety department reported 5,261 people were injured in 2011 because of alcohol-related crashes.
The number of alcohol related crashes decreased by 10 percent from 2010. Overall wrecks were down significantly in 2010, some say it was due to people not driving as much because of the economic recession.
Regardless, it is a positive trend that needs to continue.
Law enforcement will be out in full force to catch those drivers who ignore the message of don't drink and drive during the New Year's festivities.
Many people play it smart on New Year's Eve. They attend a party at a friend's house with plans to sleep there for the night. Other couples may go to a lavish dinner/dance at a hotel and book a room for the night. Then there are others who actually practice having a designated driver or even renting a limousine.
Here's an idea for an alcohol, family-oriented night of fun this evening: New Year's Eve Salem. We have published multiple stories on this great event and they can be accessed at salemnews.net. It's inexpensive and it's fun for all ages. And - being held at venues with the core of the city -keeps families off the roads and away from potentially dangerous drivers. Many people believe it is hazardous to even be on the roads on New Year's Eve because of the drinking. They don't want to be involved in a wreck.
There may be a lot of alcohol consumed on New Year's Eve but there also is a lot consumed any weekend of the year. People leave bars and get behind the wheel without thinking twice. Why think about it on New Year's Eve and not the other days of the year?
Alcohol impairs the ability to drive. It slows reaction time and also causes a driver to cross the center line. There are serious or fatal accidents every weekend involving alcohol. Innocent family members are killed because someone was behind the wheel under the influence.
Make a New Year's resolution to not drive under the influence in 2013. And start tonight. Think seriously about the consequences of driving while impaired. It just isn't worth it.