During this time of year, we all have more time off and more to celebrate. Sometimes as we celebrate drinking increases, and winter road conditions deteriorate, which could lead to a recipe for disaster. The sad truth is that not only is this the most celebrated time of year, it is also the time of year when the most alcohol-related deaths occur.
During the holiday season, 40% of highway deaths are alcohol related. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, 2-3 times more people die due to alcohol related accidents.
Also in the state of Utah, if you received a DUI, you will receive criminal penalties and unrelated civil penalties (http://www.dmv.org/ut-utah/automotive-law/dui.php). Penalties typically include jail time, community service, fines, suspension of your driver license, treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, impounded vehicles and fines, and ignition interlock device and fees.
Avoiding alcohol-related problems at this time of year, can be as simple as planning ahead. Don't drink if you are planning to drive. One drink for one person can have a drastically different effect on that person than it might on another. Don't even risk driving if you've had anything to drink.
Another course you could take is to have a designated driver, or call for a cab. Ask a friend who won't be drinking to give you a ride home. Robert J. Debry has a great "Get a Free Ride Home" program for those who live in the Salt Lake Metro area. In the long run, it could save you, those you love, and those you don't even know by having someone else take you home after you've been drinking.
We definitely encourage everyone to enjoy this holiday season, but do so responsibly. One gift we can all give this year is the gift of safe driving to all those who are driving on the roads with you.