While this holiday season may be different from years past, a lot of those smaller, socially distanced gatherings will still most likely include alcoholic beverages. The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety wants to remind those who plan to celebrate to designate a sober driver or call a ride to avoid driving impaired. Statewide, law enforcement will be on the lookout for substance-impaired drivers, with targeted enforcement efforts Dec. 13, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2021.
There were 51 people killed and 261 seriously injured in Missouri traffic crashes between Dec. 10, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2020. Twelve of the fatalities and 40 of the serious injuries involved a substance-impaired driver. That equates to potentially over 300 families whose lives were changed in an instant during what should be the most wonderful time of the year. It's time to change the numbers.
"We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season," said Jon Nelson, executive chair to the coalition. "Therefore, we are making a special effort to reach motorists with reminders to plan ahead for a safe and sober ride home."
What's tragic about these crashes is that they are preventable. Substance-impaired driving is a crime, not an "accident," and is one of America's most often committed and deadliest crimes. The facts are known - drinking and driving, or drug use, both over-the-counter and illegal, can be a lethal combination. The consequences are fines, jail time or even death.