12/27/05 — It’s simple: If you drink, don’t drive

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It’s simple: If you drink, don’t drive

Sometimes a message does not need a lot of space.

Its importance becomes clear simply through a few well-chosen words.

That is why the phrase “Don’t Drink and Drive” is so effective.

Every year, thousands of Americans across the country drink themselves silly on New Year’s Eve. Then, instead of designating a driver or calling a cab, they get behind the wheel of a car or other vehicle. And, reaction times lowered, judgment clouded, these men and women hit the highways.

Along the way, they encounter an innocent driver, and, in a moment, change his or her life forever.

Drunken driving accidents are tragedies for many reasons, not the least of which are the innocent lives they take. But that is only part of the story. The men and women who get behind the wheel are not out to hurt anyone. While some might be habitual offenders, others are simply people who made a bad decision — and in a split second, a law-abiding, good-hearted citizen becomes a murderer. That is a tragedy, too.

There are many ways to stop drunken driving accidents during the holiday season and at any other time of year. First, drink in moderation if you choose to celebrate. Second, designate a driver for your group.

But the third, and perhaps the most important, is, if you see someone who should not be behind the wheel, stop that individual, hide his or her keys or do whatever it takes to make sure he or she gets home safely.

That is how you prevent tragedies and ring in 2006 right.

Published in Editorials on December 27, 2005 8:40 AM