The new year is often a time of celebration as one year ends and another begins. However, many New Year’s celebrations have ended in tragedy because of alcohol-fueled vehicular crashes.
One of my duties as a writer here at the Daily American Republic includes gathering and writing about crash and arrest reports from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. In the last two months, I have written about no less than seven vehicle crashes in the area where alcohol was a factor. Two of those crashes resulted in serious injuries.
If you’re going to celebrate this New Year’s Eve by consuming alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel. While some think that has been said so many times it has become cliché, history has proven time and again that it cannot be said enough.
According to the American Safety Council, more than half of vehicular crashes on New Year’s Day involve excessive blood alcohol. The answer is simple — if you’re going to drive tonight, don’t drink. And if you are going to drink tonight, don’t drive. Get a ride, or get a designated driver. Simple enough.
Also, don’t forget to buckle up when you’re driving or riding in a vehicle. I have lost count of how many serious — and even fatal — crashes I have written about where a person suffered serious injuries or even died and they were not wearing a seat belt. The most recent one was a little more than three weeks ago, where a young mother lost her life in a crash and was not wearing her seat belt.
When I say “Seat belts save lives,” I am speaking from personal experience. I totaled my car on Interstate 55 in eastern Arkansas in July 2008. My friend and colleague, Mark J. Sanders, drove by the accident and only realized later that it was me. His words were “You’re lucky to be alive.” If I had not been wearing my seat belt, I don’t think I would be.
Saturday marks the beginning of a new year. Don’t let it end prematurely — drive sober and buckle up!
Mike Buhler is a staff writer for the Daily American Republic. Contact him at email@example.com.