December 30, 2012

OUR VIEW: Message is clear - Don’t drink and drive

The issue: New Year’s Eve brings many reasons for celebration and often leads to a cocktail or two.

Our view: One drink is one drink too many to get behind the wheel and drive. Select a designated driver or call a cab if you plan to leave home to celebrate Monday.

The new year can mean many things for people. Possibly 2012 was a phenomenal year, filled with a new birth in the family, a promotion at work, a marriage or maybe someone you know, including yourself, conquering an illness. On the flip side, 2012 could have meant the loss of a loved one, a foreclosure, the loss of a job or even a divorce.

Either way you look at it, 2012 is coming to a close. With the year’s ending upon us, many people resort to having a cocktail or two celebrating the year that was or offering it good riddance. A bottle of wine may be consumed as ladies discuss a summer trip they took or how the children fared in school or sports this year. Guys may do the same as cans and bottles of beer line the trash can around talks of making sure 2013 is one of prosperity. Some will party safely in the confines of their own home or a place they plan to stay for a full night’s (or day’s) rest after the last new year’s horn blows. Others may take to the bar scene or to a house party just a few blocks from home. Reminiscing about the past and dreaming about the future while drinking libations can cause a whirlwind for a perfect storm.

Be prepared for this storm.

Indiana law allows those of us 21 years or older to consume alcohol. The law also holds us accountable for abusing that privilege by putting our lives or the lives of others at risk. Body mass, time, rest and the amount of alcohol consumed all play a factor in the equation for drunkenness. Are you in the right state of mind after some alcohol to figure out whether you should drive? Does a cab fare even get close to the total cost of a charge of operating while intoxicated, which includes bail, towing, insurance and legal fees? We think not.

Today is the day to make alternate plans for tomorrow’s celebration. Of all days to enforce zero tolerance on yourself or loved ones, this is the one. Avoid the extreme possibility of having to provide tearful testimony before a judge and a victim’s family because you didn’t take the time to prepare for a known alcohol-related holiday.

Rid yourself now of any excuses. After all, the excuse of “I can drive. I only live one block from home” can still lead you to another block – a cell block.