Be smart: Don#039;t drink and drive this holiday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Tribune editorial staff

As New Year's Eve is upon us once again, we will soon reflect on the past year and get ready to embark on a new one.

Across Lawrence County, countless New Year's celebrations will take place. Unfortunately, far too many people will throw caution to the wind as they celebrate. It is this time of year when far too many people risk their lives by drinking and driving.

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Even though the statistics are sobering, many people ignore them. Last year alone, 17,419 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving alcohol - an average of one every 30 minutes. In Ohio, 482 people lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes. In addition, an estimated half-million Americans are injured in alcohol-related crashes each year.

Between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Eve - the weeks that carry the highest risk for drinking and driving crashes, according to MADD


1,561 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol has been targeting impaired drivers in an effort to save lives by preventing alcohol-related crashes. In coordination with this observance, the Ironton Post of the OSHP has been actively participating in the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. public education campaign. Knowing New Year's Eve is a high-risk night for drunk driving, the local post of the patrol plans to step up its presence on Lawrence County's roadways.

We applaud the patrol and other law enforcement agencies for their effort to save lives and we encourage you to think about the possible tragic consequences of not following their advice.

Impaired driving is a dangerous and deadly crime. The tragedy is these alcohol-related deaths are very preventable - they are not accidents.

This New Year's Eve, designate a sober driver, call a taxi, call a safe ride program or make arrangements to spend the night where you are drinking. But, whatever you do, don't drink and drive.