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Plan for a safe New Year’s Eve celebration

Published 5:29pm Saturday, December 28, 2013

QUESTION: What’s the best thing to plan when we’re getting ready to celebrate the arrival of the New Year?

 ANSWER: Well, if you don’t drink alcoholic beverages when you celebrate, it’s important to plan to be a defensive driver, because lots of people do celebrate with alcohol and some will still get behind the wheel of a car. The best gift you can give your family is to get home safely to begin 2014.

Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin. Before drinking any alcohol, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys. If you’re impaired, and there isn’t a designated driver, use a taxi or call a sober friend or family member. If you’re sober and you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call law enforcement with the location and the license plate number.

We all know that the tragedies and costs from drinking and driving impaired are serious: the potential of death, disfigurement, disabilities. Driving with a blood alcohol count of .08 or higher is illegal in every state.

A DWI often means jail time, the loss of a driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, other fines and court costs, car towing and repairs and lost time at work. It’s not unheard of for the expenses to add up to $18,000.00… which should be its own sobering reality.

Hopefully you’ve noticed the “Over the Limit, Under Arrest: Drive Sober” messages on banners on city boulevards, in restaurants, bars and liquor stores and on electronic signs.

Keep yourself safe and, especially if you have kids, set a good example. The road is filled with drivers: some good, some mediocre and some are just downright terrible. Forget the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Kids will do what you do. You could let your children, especially your teenager, learn from someone else, but what if that someone else never wears a seat belt, speeds, drinks alcohol and still gets behind the wheel?

Whether you realize it or not, your kids are watching. Give them something positive and helpful to watch —and talk with them about what’s safe and what’s not. Talking with your kids increases your positive influence now and in the future.

If you would like to talk about the challenges in raising children, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-0528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out


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