Drive safely this holiday

Published 11:44 pm Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year’s Eve has a reputation — and rightfully so — for being a bad night to be on the roads.

Many people celebrate the changing of the calendar with parties that include drinking alcohol. Sadly, many of these people then choose to attempt to drive.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 775 people across the nation lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes that involved an alcohol-impaired driver during December 2010 alone. In more than two-thirds of those crashes, the at-fault driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of .15 grams per deciliter or above — nearly twice the legal limit of .08.

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Drivers who hit the road while drunk are putting the lives, safety and property of themselves and others at risk. With a free program available to give drivers and their cars a ride home, and with numerous other ways to avoid having drunk drivers on the roads, there is simply no excuse for someone who is drunk to drive.

As in past years, AAA Tidewater Virginia is offering its free Tow To Go service. It will be available in Suffolk as well as the rest of Hampton Roads (excluding Chesapeake), Poquoson, Yorktown and Williamsburg.

People should call 631-1700 to request the service. It provides a ride home for the driver and a tow home for his or her car.

Other strategies to avoid drunken driving include designating a non-drinking driver, calling a sober friend or family member for a ride or calling a cab. Take away the keys from people who have had too much to drink. If you’re a party host, offer non-alcoholic drink alternatives and help arrange transportation for guests who have been drinking.

Finally, if you spot someone on the road you believe is impaired, call 911 and report their location, direction and description of their vehicle and license plate number. You could save a life.