Starting Your Year Off Right
As the holidays approach and the New Year is on the horizon, the annual flurry of party planning begins. Friends, family, presents, holiday parties and late nights at the bar all come to mind. What comes to mind as well more and more these days are drunken driving accidents. In the United States, 28 people die from drunk driving accidents daily, which also equates to one death every 51 minutes (www.cdc.gov). We hear about these accidents all the time, and while awareness has been raised even more in recent years, the problem still hasn’t diminished. While a problem this large will likely never disappear entirely, there are still steps everyone can take to help lessen this deadly problem. While the issue as a whole cannot be fixed in a short list of steps, these are all still things we should be doing every day. One step at a time taken by many can move mountains.
- Install an Ignition Interlock device in your vehicle. Ignition Interlock devices are easy to install and can save your life. These devices are attached to the inside of your vehicle and stop your car from being driven until you have tested under the legal alcohol limit. You simply blow into the device to test yourself, and if you are sober your vehicle starts and you are free to drive. If not, your vehicle locks in a way that prohibits you from driving.
- It starts at the party. Holiday parties are frequent at this time of year. Make sure they happen again next year. Collecting everyone’s keys at the door is a quick way to ensure no one drives drunk. Make it festive and decorative so no one feels isolated. You can easily put an empty bowl for keys with a little handwritten sign next to a bowl of holiday cookies. They hand over the keys; you hand over the Christmas goodies. You can also inform guests ahead of time that there will be alcohol and while they should plan accordingly, you will also help people get home safely afterwards if it is needed.
- Use the technology. There are so many different ways to get home these days. There are several apps (and many of them are free) out there that provide services that will pick you up at your location and drive you home for a fee. People use these services in their every day lives as well as after a night of drinking, which normalizes them.
- Spread the word. Use social media! You can follow many different foundations and organizations across several social media platforms to stay informed. You can donate, like, share and comment. Get involved! Inspire your friends and family to join you. You don’t have to start a foundation of your own, but it doesn’t hurt to stay aware and informed.
The holiday season is easily the most magical and heartwarming time of the year. Seeing loved ones and celebrating with friends after a long year of busy work and family life cannot be taken for granted. Enjoy the holidays, take a break and indulge. However, don’t let your friends and family take risks that gamble with their lives. Follow these steps this holiday season and stay safe.