Editor's note: This column is a periodic feature of Louisiana Now. It may be freely distributed as long as credit is given to louisiananow.blogspot.com
The Thanksgiving leftovers have been cleared from the fridge. Hopefully, at least. And the shopping season is in full swing. Probably not as brisk as in past years, of course, but in full swing nonetheless. Now we're right in the middle of the holiday season, and many of us are ready to celebrate with family and friends.
But as we get together and reflect on the year that's passed, we must remember to be responsible when it comes to alcohol.
Let's face it. There is a problem here and the numbers don't lie. Drinking and driving don't mix. Year in and year out, the data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows deaths from drunk driving crashes are the highest during the holidays. This year's numbers rank Louisiana fifth in the nation with 8.57 fatalities per capita.
Not to sound like a broken record, but this message is an important one. We can't afford to let our guard down when it comes to reminding everyone about the dangers of drinking and driving. It's simply too late to give a word of warning after a deadly crash occurs.
Unfortunately, too many people are not getting the message. And as we all know, this is the worst time of year for families and friends to deal with a tragedy.
We all must keep in mind the power of our actions and the consequences that can result.
Obviously there are people out there who are not behaving responsible. Consider this, drunk and impaired driving killed nearly 13,000 people last year. That's one person every 40 minutes. Let's think about this. That's about the amount of time it takes to watch a television program. Just think if every time you watched a sitcom that someone died a remarkably preventable death. Then think about all of the people that must go on living with such a loss. And that's not to mention all of the legal troubles that will follow. It all ends up feeling like a never-ending road of pain and suffering, not just for one person but several.
Let's turn the tables. We don't need this problem looming over us. Let's all rally together and make sure the message gets out there. Furthermore, let's support the men and women of law enforcement in the job they are doing to keep our roads safe. Those roads are ours, and we shouldn't have to be fearful every time we head out.
Let's keep our roads safe this holiday season. It's a matter of life or death.
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