If you must celebrate with drink, make sure you don’t drive.
One would think that needing to warn people not to drive drunk on New Year’s Eve would be unnecessary.
For a generation now, we’ve been inundated with anti-drinking and driving messages. There has been no shortage of horrific alcohol-related crashes that have made headlines about people left dead and maimed. And in an evermore safety-conscious society, common sense about not getting behind the wheel while loaded should prevail.
Yet we know there are going to be too many jolly good folks who are going to leave a bar or party sometime after midnight tonight with a blood-alcohol content above the legal limit. And we know they are going to pose a risk to themselves and others, with only the grace of God left to protect them.
You don’t want to be that guy or gal. In the spirit of safety, here are three important things to remember when you’re celebrating tonight:
The legal limit. If you have three or more alcoholic drinks in your system, there is a very good chance you run the risk of driving either while your ability is impaired or while you are intoxicated.
Your body processes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour, so if you’re drinking more than one drink per hour for several hours, you should not be driving.
The law. Driving while intoxicated is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail. A repeat offense can be considered a felony punishable by prison time. A conviction can mean loss of your license and a hefty fine as well.
It is utterly illogical to be a law-abiding citizen by day and then a potential jailbird at night because you made the wrong choice after drinking.
The loved ones. It’s been nearly a decade since four students died in an alcohol-related crash on the Colgate University campus in Hamilton, N.Y. The images of those young faces continues to haunt, and for many years, families of the victims conducted publicity campaigns and public appearances to drive home the impact of their loss.
Those students would be in their late 20s today, probably holding down good careers, perhaps planning marriages and families, keeping in touch with their parents and siblings.
Imagine the hole that remains in the hearts of those family members, and then make sure you never do anything to contribute to anyone’s similar loss.
When the clock strikes 12 tonight, we enter a new decade, one that holds all sorts of promise and potential. Be sure you’re there to experience it — do not drink and drive.
Observer-Dispatch of Utica, N.Y.