Opinion

Ring in the new year responsibly

T is the season to be jolly, but let’s make it a safe

one too.

During the past five years alcohol-related deaths have increased in 17 states, the United States Transportation Secretary recently announced.

A report released Friday, Dec. 19 by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents the alcohol-related fatalities in traffic crashes from 1982-2002.

In 2002 about 40 percent of the more than 17,000 traffic fatalities nationwide were alcohol related. In Washington about 45 percent of all deaths in 2002 were alcohol related. While that is down considerably from 64 percent, 20 years ago, it is still not enough.

Enough is when the numbers no longer exist.

Tens of thousands of officers from law enforcement agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have mobilized a campaign against impaired driving through Jan. 4, 2004. During the campaign they will conduct sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.

The campaign is in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s annual “You Drink & Drive. You Lose.”

According to the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving Kitsap Chapter Web site, a 150-pound person who consumes four alcoholic drinks in an hour will have exceeded the legal blood alcohol content limit of .08.

We know you’ve heard it a million times, if you drink don’t drive. This year make a resolution, give yourself and others a gift — be responsible.

An estimated 258,000 people nationwide were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present — an average of one person injured about every two minutes. The worst part is, all the pain and loss is 100 percent preventable. So as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

l Don’t risk it. If you plan to drive, don’t drink or use any drugs.

l Choose a sober designated driver before celebrating.

l Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a friend to drive you home.

l Spend the night where the activity is being held.

l Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.

l Always wear your safety belt.

(Editorial courtesy of the Central Kitsap Reporter.)

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