As we gather with friends and family to recognize the conclusion of 2012 and ring in 2013, please remember to celebrate responsibly. I would like to offer a sobering fact to serve as a reminder of the importance of driving sober. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010, 10,228 Americans were killed in traffic crashes that involved alcohol-impaired drivers. Over 10,000 lives were cut short due to poor choices.
When you drink and drive, you are not only putting your life in danger. You are also risking the lives of each and every person riding in a vehicle that you pass on the road. As many families continue to celebrate the holidays this week with Christmas parties and other events, those who consume alcohol and get behind the wheel are risking the lives of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I do not believe anyone who drinks and drives intends to hurt anyone else, but sometimes the worse consequences are those that are unintended.
Community members planning to celebrate the new year with champagne, wine or other alcoholic beverages are encouraged to plan ahead by designating a sober driver before the party begins. If you are planning to drink, also make a plan not to drive. If you are impaired and haven't planned ahead, make a phone call and ask a friend or family member for a lift home. Being responsible also includes helping others. If you see someone drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel, and if you see an impaired driver on the road, call 911.
The Cassville Democrat staff wishes all of its readers and advertisers a happy, safe and prosperous new year!