Editorial: A holiday reminder

This week, I sat in traffic for almost two hours in what is normally about a 25-minute commute from my home on Bainbridge Island to my office in Silverdale.

It was Monday morning and I sincerely thought about turning around, going home and going back to bed. But the reporter in me said I needed to see what was ahead.

I heard sirens before I ever left home and my husband looked on the Bainbridge Fire District website, so I knew there had been an accident somewhere near the Agate Pass Bridge. The website said it could be an hour before the accident scene was cleared. I headed out anyway.

I easily got out on the highway because there was no traffic heading south and a nice driver let me in to head north. I sat about 200 feet from my driveway for 30 minutes and then creeped along for another 45 minutes until I got to the bridge.

It was soon obvious that it was a very serious accident. It had been a head-on just on the north side of the bridge.

Later in the day, I learned through a Washington State Patrol news release that the accident is suspected to involved drugs or alcohol. It was just another reminder of how vigilant we all have to be at this time of year.

According to state data, 49 people have been killed in Washington in the past four years between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, due to impaired driving.

The WSP and other law enforcement agencies are adding extra DUI patrols during this time as a way to try to decrease the number of impaired drivers on the road and the number of accidents. Kitsap County law enforcement agencies are participating in that.

Too, many tow companies and taxi drivers are offering their services free of charge to get intoxicated drivers home without incident, during the holiday time when office parties and other gathering can mean overindulgence in alcohol.

We each bear a responsibility to not drink and drive. We also bear the responsibility to stop anyone else who may be over the limit.

Don't worry about being seen as the "teetotaler do-gooder" or the "mother" in the group. If your friend or co-worker shouldn't be behind the wheel, then stop them. Take their keys. Stand in front of the door. Do whatever it takes.

And remember, it can happen anywhere, anytime. Just because its 8 a.m. on Monday morning doesn't mean someone who shouldn't be drinking, isn't out on the road.

Driving is a responsibility, not a privilege. At the holidays, we mourn with those who have lost loved ones to drunk drivers. And we pledge to do all we can to keep it from happening to others.



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