Travel safely, soberly on holiday weekend

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 29, 2002

How many close friends or family members of yours will be traveling this weekend for the holiday – five, 10, 12? According to statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Safety, 13 people will die on our highways over the weekend - one of them might well be a friend, a family member, or you.

With congested highways, the potential for disaster rises slightly. Add alcohol to that scenario, and the potential skyrockets from possibility to probability.

The saddest fact about these tragedies-in-waiting is that many of those who die will not be drunk drivers, but the victims of drunk drivers.

As September 11 hovers on the edge of our collective consciousness at all times, the fears associated with it are being revived by the coming anniversary and the renewed media focus on those first terrible, frightened, frightening days. The travel industry has suffered ever since, since we have lost faith in the security of airlines and the sanctity and safety of our own country.

We would, by no means, discourage travel, but the facts are - the average American is far more likely to die as a result of a drunk driver than from a terrorist attack.

If you travel this weekend, we ask that you travel slowly and soberly - and defensively. Just because you are a safe and sober driver, doesn't mean the next person coming down the road toward you is. We as a nation have had far too much grief and loss this year - we do not need another senseless death due to another drunk driver on what is supposed to be a holiday.

Spend this weekend with those friends and family members and celebrate all that is good about living in America.

Labor Day was created to recognize the work force of this country, and it has the distinction of being one of the few days not created as a memorial for someone who died. With caution and responsibility, we can keep it that way.