Archive for Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Opinion: Make New Year’s a safe holiday

December 26, 2001

Drunk drivers injure or kill thousands of drivers each year on American roadways.

Sadly, this coming New Year's celebration will be no exception; someone will be killed or injured in an alcohol-related accident.

We can't reasonably prevent all tragedies, but we can prevent drunken driving from occurring in our community.

Local and state law enforcement officers will be on the alert this holiday, looking for those who drink and drive. But they can't do it alone. It will take all of us to help in the fight against drinking and driving.

There's nothing wrong with celebrating, unless it's done carelessly. Before taking a drink and especially before getting behind the wheel, take a minute to realize what's at risk.

Not only could a traffic accident occur, resulting in death or permanent injury, you can end up in jail, or even prison, not only losing your driving privileges but your freedom.

Driving is a privilege, not a right as some people presume. With that privilege comes the responsibility of being safe behind the wheel. Whether it's one or several drinks, you take the risk of hurting someone and yourself when getting behind the wheel.

Before going out to celebrate the New Year ,have a plan in place. Call a cab, or if with friends, designate someone to drive everyone home. If a friend who's intoxicated tries to drive home, take away his or her keys. They may be mad at you, but if they're your friends or even if they're not your friends, the hassle is worth saving a life.

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, underage alcohol-related traffic accidents have risen. Although teen-agers are of the age to make their own decisions, they sometimes have no concept of dying or being seriously hurt as a result of their actions. It's up to parents and those in authority to talk with teen-agers about the dangers of drinking and driving. Taking a few minutes with a teen-ager could save a life.

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