Survive the holidays: Don't drink and drive

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By The Staff

The holiday season is here and along with it comes one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year.

Why? Because of the increase in impaired driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 992 people were killed in crashes in December 2007 that involved drunk drivers with blood-alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher. The NHTSA estimates someone is killed in an impaired- driving crash every 31 minutes. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports an estimated 12,998 people died nationwide in 2007 due to alcohol-related crashes. MADD estimates about three in every 10 Americans will be involved in alcohol-related crashes at some time in their lives.

How does Perry County rank in all these numbers? Since Jan. 1, the Perry County prosecutor's office has received 147 operating while intoxicated cases from local law enforcement. Most of those cases involved drivers with BACs of .08 or higher.

The Perry County prosecutor's office would like to remind everyone who will be celebrating during this festive time of the year to never forget to plan a safe way home before the festivities begin. Please don't ever get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you are impaired.

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. Please help our friends and families be safe by doing all you can to stop someone from drinking and driving.

Here are some easy tips to help ensure we can all enjoy a safe and festive holiday:

• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.

• If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.

• If you can't find a sober driver, stay overnight where you are.

• If you happen to see a drunk or impaired driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement.

• And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Happy holidays from the Perry County prosecutor's office.

Chestnut is victim advocate for the Perry County prosecutor's office.