EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 19, 2012

Letter: Holidays can be deadly if you drink and drive

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to celebrate being with your family and friends.

I can’t think of a single month of the year when I attend more parties than I do in December. Between family get-togethers, work gatherings and seeing old friends, it seems I’m never as popular as I am during Christmas!

The problem is, I travel some pretty far distances to get to these parties, and I drive a lot during the holidays. I can’t be sure, but I imagine I’m not the only one who spends more time traveling between November and January than any other time of year.

Statistically, the number of alcohol-related automobile accidents increases during the holidays. According to the United States Department of Transportation, an average of 45 people died each day during the holiday season between 2001 and 2005. It is estimated that 1200 people will die this year as a result of a drunken driving traffic accident in the United States.

During the holidays, then, it is particularly important to plan ahead if you’ll be drinking at a Christmas party. Ideally, if you are driving, you shouldn’t be drinking at all, but if you do, please pace yourself. If you feel even remotely buzzed, driving is not only illegal, it’s dangerous to other drivers. If you plan on drinking more heavily, then it is better to make plans for how you are getting home at the end of the night before it begins. Does your host have somewhere for you to stay? If not, find a designated driver. Please plan ahead on this, too, and agree on who will drive before the end of the night. If you were planning on driving but think you shouldn’t, or you don’t trust your designated driver to pick you up, it is better to call a cab or a friend to pick you up. It may be inconvenient, but it could save your life — or someone else’s.

It seems like overkill to be stressing the importance of sober driving, even during the holidays, but I feel that now is the best time to talk about it. I’m not saying don’t drink during the holidays; I’m just asking that if you’re driving, please be safe. It’s a fine line between sober driving and buzzed driving, but it’s a distinction that needs to be made for everyone’s sake. Have a safe and happy holiday.

Abby Rugg

Derry, N.H.