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The perils of holiday driving

The holiday season is upon us. It’s the time of year to sit down with family and friends to share stories, good food and laughter. It is also the time of year when some celebrations will involve an abundance of alcohol, which far too often ends in a motor vehicle wreck, injuries and even fatalities.

Just as New Year’s Eve has become notorious for the dangers posed by drunk drivers, so too is “Blackout Wednesday,” the night before Thanksgiving. Because virtually everyone has a day off of work on Thanksgiving, some see that as an excuse to go out to Lake Charles bars and clubs and party to excess. When they then get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they put all other motorists at risk.

The federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that an average of 200 people per year died over the Thanksgiving holiday periods from 2013 to 2017. (The period begins at 6 p.m. on Blackout Wednesday and extends to early Monday morning.) Those grim figures make Thanksgiving one of the deadliest holidays of the year, along with New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July.

The NHTSA says the cost to the nation is estimated at more than $40 billion annually, including medical expenses, lost workdays, property damage and more.

We all know the solution to this senseless and tragic tradition: do not drink and drive. Never get behind the wheel if you have consumed alcohol. Designate a sober driver or get a ride-share or taxi. In that way, you can make it to the table for Thanksgiving, and so can the rest of us.

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J Est 1980

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