Drinking, driving don't go well together

  • Published
  • By George Wagner
  • 71 FTW Safety Office
There are a lot of good things that go well together during the holidays - cocoa and marshmallows, snow and sleds, and friends and laughter. But there are two things that should never be associated together during the holidays - drinking and driving. 

The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times on America's roadways due to an increase in impaired driving, according to stopimpaireddriving.org. 

In 2005, more than 1,200 people were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration level of .01 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In these crashes, 1,033 involved a driver with an illegal BAC level of .08 or more. 

Many tragedies that result from impaired driving crashes could be prevented if people take a few simple precautions: 

-- Plan ahead: Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.

-- If you're impaired, call a sober friend or family member, call "Safe Ride Home" at 233-2224 or the Vance Airmen Against Drunk Driving 541-4663 (enlisted)/541-7433 (officers). 

-- Report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement.

-- And remember, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk." If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take his/her keys and help make other arrangements to get him/her home safely. Impaired driving doesn't just affect the driver - it affects everyone else too. 

-- Not only do people run the risk of killing themselves, they risk killing others as well. 

-- Violators can face prison time, loss of their driver's license, increased insurance rates and other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, court fines and costs, car towing, repairs and lost time from work. 

-- People who refuse to take a sobriety test can lose their licenses on the spot and have their cars impounded. 

-- There is also the embarrassment, humiliation and potential loss and consequence after informing family, friends and employers. 

During this holiday season, be prudent about how you celebrate. Be sure to have a plan before consuming alcohol. If your plan has gone astray, remember there are other ways to get home safely that don't include drinking and driving. Remember two great words that go well together during the holidays: arrive alive!