BUCKHANNON — Most people are very eager to leave 2020 in the rear-view mirror and begin a whole new year with a fresh start. This past year has been full of hardship and loss for everyone, so don’t continue the tribulation by driving drunk on New Year’s.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve has become one of the most dangerous holidays on the calendar. Millions of people attend parties, counting down to midnight to bring in the New Year with their friends and loved ones. Thousands of those people drive home afterwards, drunk behind the wheel of their car. According to AAA, compared to an average weekend night, 71% more crashes occur with drugs or alcohol as the main contributing factor between December 31 at 6 p.m. and January 1 at 6 a.m.
Even if you are sober, please remember the 12-hour period going into New Year’s Day is extremely dangerous for anyone on the road. The U.S. Department of Transportation shows that, on national average, 300 people die in drunk driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states. Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol not only puts yourself in great danger, but also risks the lives of everyone on the road around you. You do not have to be drunk to be a victim of drunk driving, so please remember to watch those around you who may have decided to drive while impaired.
Lt. Doug Loudin from the Buckhannon Police Department explained, “Let me start out by saying that driving safely is not just a law enforcement concern, it should be the concern of everyone travelling our roads and highways.” He urged drivers to imagine their loved ones being in the vehicle with them or traveling elsewhere, and to consider how they would feel if they caused a crash to occur due to driving under the influence. “Let go of your pride and let someone else drive. Or better yet, stay where you are,” he urged. Lt. Loudin added, “If you drink and drive and get arrested for a DUI, it is not the Officer’s fault for your arrest. They are out to make sure everyone is driving safely.”
The entire world has high hopes for 2021. Do not begin your year with injury, death, or heartache due to the avoidable mistake of drinking and driving this holiday. It is not worth it. Remember to think of others on the road, think of your family, and think of yourself. Celebrate safely, as this New Year transition will be one to remember.
Lt. Loudin sends his best wishes to Buckhannon on behalf of the BPD and The Record Delta also wishes everyone a safe and happy New Year!