As New Year's Eve approaches, plans to celebrate are at the top of many to-do lists. While many of those plans involve the use of alcohol, we at the Chronicle wish to encourage you to refrain from the dangers of drinking and driving.
According to statistics garnered from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website, West Virginia saw 88 DUI fatalities in 2010 with a total of 573 over the past five years. The New Year's holiday begins the reporting of those statistics for yet another year and it is our hope that the numbers decrease rather than rise.
The MADD site ranks all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in their percentage of DUI deaths. Utah, with the ranking of one, has the lowest percentage while South Caroline falls at the highest level ranking #51. West Virginia falls below the mid-mark at #20.
Regardless of where the state may fall in national rankings, the effort to decrease the numbers must fall to each individual and their personal actions. Make sure that if you choose to celebrate the start of 2012 with the consumption of alcoholic beverages that you do not pick up the keys to a vehicle and attempt to drive. Designate a driver for your celebratory event so that there is at least one person who is responsible for making sure all make it home safely. There are taxi services available as well to ensure that you make it home.
Law enforcement officials will be on the roadways to make every attempt to curb those who have been drinking from driving and possibly harming themselves or others. Remember that no amount of frivolity gained from consuming alcohol is worth the loss of your life or the life of someone else. It is also not worth the punishments meted out by law enforcement officers, courts or one's own conscience should an accident occur. Be on the safe side - don't drink and drive.