As we count down the final days of 2020, we look forward to creating goals for the new year. However, plans for a bright future can vanish in an instant if you don’t make responsible choices.

In 2018, 10,511 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the United States, which accounts for 29 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the whole country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

One death due to impaired driving is too many, let alone one every 50 minutes. Yet, it is not always the impaired driver’s life that is lost. According to the NHTSA, 231 children died in impaired-driving accidents where the child was either a passenger, occupant of another vehicle, or pedestrian or bicyclist.

If the potential to destroy a life is not enough motivation to stay away from the driver’s seat after drinking alcohol or taking impairing drugs and medications, consider the tremendous financial burden that comes with driving while impaired (DWI) charge.

In Pinellas County, the costs associated with a DUI defense range from $12,000 to $20,000. If you cause a crash, injury, or death, the costs could become even higher – not to mention the incalculable value of a lost life.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office conducts several DUI Wolf Pack operations throughout the year to reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage associated with traffic crashes related to impaired driving, and the holiday season is no exception. 

Fortunately, impaired driving is easily preventable. Make your holiday season happier and safer by following these tips:

  1. Plan a designated driver ahead of time. 

Going out with friends or family members allows you to use a designated driver. When carpooling, have one person abstain for the evening so that everyone gets home safe.

  1. Resist the pressure to drink or serve alcohol at every holiday gathering.

Alcohol is not a necessary ingredient for fun. Don’t succumb to social pressure and feel like you must drink because of what other people are doing. Choose a non-alcoholic beverage instead.

  1. Use a taxi or rideshare app.

If you can’t safely drive home and don’t have a designated driver, use a rideshare app, like Uber or Lyft, to get home. Paying a small fee for a taxi or Uber is an excellent option when compared to a costly DWI.

Your holiday plans could end in tragedy if you don’t take the proper safety precautions. I urge you to be responsible, plan, and don’t drive while impaired – now, or at any time of year.


Posted by Tuesday, December 1, 2020 9:13:00 AM

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