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The holiday season is upon us and is supposed to be a time for family, friends and festive celebrations, but unfortunately it is also a time when there is a tragic jump in the number of alcohol-related highway deaths each year.
That is why the Perry County Prosecutor's Office is reminding everyone this holiday season to always designate a sober driver before each holiday party or event involving alcohol.
Impaired driving is one of America's deadliest problems. Every 30 minutes, nearly 50 times a day, someone in America dies in an alcohol-related crash. Hundreds of thousands more are injured each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about three in every 10 Americans will be involved in alcohol-related crashes at some point in their lives. Since Jan.1 of this year, the Perry County Prosecutor's Office has received 196 operating-while-intoxicated cases from local law enforcement.
December is proclimed National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month to help prevent impaired driving and promote the use of designated drivers and sober ride programs. Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is simply not worth the risk.
The consequences are serious and real. Designating a sober driver before a party begins is just one of several, simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving during the holiday season. Other important reminders include:
• Never get behind the wheel of your vehicle if you've been drinking.
• If impaired, call a taxi or call a sober friend or family member to come and get you.
• If you are unable to find a sober way home, stay where you are.
• If you are hosting a party this holiday season, remind your guests to always plan ahead to designate a sober driver, always offer alcohol-free beverages during the event, and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.
• Friends don't let friends drive drunk. Take the keys and never let a friend drive impaired.
So remember, this holiday season and throughout the coming new year, don't drink or use drugs and drive.
God bless and have a safe and happy holiday season.
Collins is Perry County's prosecutor.