The Herald Bulletin

December 31, 2013

Editorial: Party like it’s 2014 but keep the revelry off the road

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Tonight, when the bell tolls midnight, we’ll celebrate the passing of one year and dawning of the next.

Of course, the revelry, with champagne and cocktails freely flowing, will start much earlier in the day and last long into the night.

So a word of caution as you put on your party hats, test out the overly obnoxious party horns and down a celebratory beverage: Don’t let all that revelry overflow into our streets. The road is no place for a party.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, 158 individuals didn’t make it to 2013 after dying in alcohol-impaired traffic collisions in Indiana. That’s 20.3 percent of Indiana’s 779 traffic fatalities that year and a 12.9 percent increase over 2011’s tally. Alcohol-impaired driving resulted in 9,878 deaths nationally in 2011 (the latest data available).

While we can’t say for certain how many of those deaths occurred on New Year’s Eve, we do know that the final day of the year didn’t earn a reputation as the most dangerous day to be on the road for nothing.

If you’re going out on the town tonight, choose one of your party to be the designated driver. The driver should stick to soda or water for the evening, and keep a close eye on your group. Make sure to offer your DD repayment in kind next year.

If you’re hosting a celebration, take each driver’s keys at the door and be prepared for overnight guests. Lock the keys away in a location that an inebriated mind won’t think to look. Don’t let anyone talk you into giving them back. And have the taxi service’s number handy in case someone insists on heading home.

If you’re headed out alone or to meet friends, pre-program the number for a taxi or a friend you know will stay sober into your phone. Make arrangements for someone to come get you, even if you’re just a little “buzzed.”

These few simple precautions will ensure you don’t start 2014 in the jail’s drunk tank or, worse yet, the morgue.

In summary It's a night for celebration, but take precautions before downing that champagne.