Don’t drink and drive this holiday season

Potential hazards of drinking and driving

Even before my kids — now 21 and 25 — could drive, I talked, preached and lectured about drinking and driving. My message was simple: Don’t do it. And if your ride does it, don’t get in the car. I volunteer in prisons and have seen firsthand how one bad decision can lead to heartache.

My kids had a list of phone numbers for several trusted people they could call. There was a promise of just a safe ride home, with no lectures about drinking.

Although they never had to call any of the numbers on the list, I know they made good decisions by not drinking, acting as or using a designated driver, or spending the night at a friend’s house rather than driving home.

Such conversations are important to have with family and friends, especially during the holidays.  According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 40 percent of the highway fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday are alcohol-related. During Christmas it’s 37 percent, and 58 percent during the New Year’s holiday.

Excessive alcohol use has led to about 88,000 deaths between 2006 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those who died had their lives shortened by an average of 30 years.

How much is too much? A CDC infographic offers some insight.

Keep your holidays merry. Don’t drink and drive. And never let family and friends who have been drinking get behind the wheel.


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