It amazes me that after at least 20 years of marketing campaigns and countless sights of children and families killed by drunk drivers that we still have people on the highways driving under the influence.
Every year during long weekends, like the Labor Day holiday coming up, large numbers of people will die on the roads simply because some people are irresponsible and continue to get behind the wheel after they have been drinking. Citations continue to increase, fines and consequences are higher than ever, the courts and jails are full and often the people who are sighted complain loudly because of the tremendous burdens their arrest and conviction has caused them. They could simply stop drinking and driving, but they don't.
As part of the "You Drink & Drive. You Lose," national crackdown, local and state law enforcement will be out in full force, working together to crackdown on impaired drivers. With so many people expected to travel on America's highways during the Labor Day holiday, it could be one of the deadliest periods ever for impaired driving fatalities.
Impaired driving is no accident. It's a serious crime that killed 17,013 people and injured over 250,000 others last year - an average of one person injured approximately every two minutes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although it is still significant, the number of fatalities as a result of alcohol in Utah, declined in 2003 from 2002. In 2002 there were 71 fatalities as a result of alcohol and this dropped to 46 last year. So maybe the word is getting out, slowly.
In 2003, national alcohol-related fatalities declined almost three percent; that is 511 fewer than in 2002. However, impaired driving is still one of the most often committed crimes, randomly killing someone in America every 30 minutes. That means you, your family or friends are likely to be innocent victims of this crime someday.
Officials will be out in full force this weekend, conducting sobriety checkpoints, safety checks, and saturation patrols to arrest and prosecute these criminals to the fullest extent of the law.
Violators can lose their license, time from their jobs, and lose money in high fines and court costs as well as possibly face imprisonment for repeat offenses, assault and vehicular manslaughter.
This holiday and every day, please celebrate responsibly, designate a sober driver, take a taxicab, or if you are in the city, use public transportation. Don't risk it, if you plan to drive, don't drink.
I have friends back in Montana that lost their son to a drunk driver almost 20 years ago and they are still suffering the loss. If you don't care about yourself and your future, at least be considerate of the other person or family. For those of us that don't drink maybe its time we became more vocal about this to our friends that still do.
Remember, if you drink and drive, you lose.