Legally Speaking – Impaired drivers over the holidays

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JOPLIN, Mo. — The holidays are here, marking a time for celebration nationwide.

Unfortunately, it’s also a high-risk time for accidents involving drivers under the influence.

This week’ s topic is impaired driving over the holidays. Why is this a good thing to talk about at this time of year?

Attorney Aaron Sachs, said, “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about one-third of Americans at some point in their life will be involved in an accident involving alcohol. In December, on average, 760 people nationwide were killed in drunk driving car related accidents.

Right here in Missouri, the Highway Patrol investigates about 163 auto accidents – which resulted in about 75 injuries and 5 fatalities. If you’ re planning to attend a Christmas or New Year’ s celebration – take precaution, and let’s help keep Missouri roads safe.”

How widespread is the issue of impaired driving in the U.S.?

“More than 10,000 people are killed in accidents involving an impaired driver- you know that’s one death in about every 51 minutes. Annually more than 1.4 million Americans are arrested for driving under the influence. Illegal drugs – particularly marijuana and cocaine – play a role in about 18% of all car accident cases, but drugs are often used in addition to alcohol. Annually, the cost of alcohol-related accidents amounts to more than $51 billion.”

What can local drivers do to promote safe travel and avoid these kids of accidents at the holidays?

“Be responsible. If you’ re planning to attend a holiday celebration, make plans in advance so you won’t have to drive. If you’ re hosting a party, you also need to plan ahead for your guests. So some things you could do would be get a designated driver in advance for your guests. Uh make sure your guests leave with a sober driver. Do not allow someone to drive drunk: take their keys, if it’s necessary. You may just save someone’ s life.”

What’ s the bottom line for avoiding impaired driving over the holidays?

“Well if your holiday celebration involves alcohol, please drink responsibly and stay off the roads.”

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