Beware of drunk drivers

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

Year after year, this particular newspaper space is filled with warnings and pleadings to those who drink and drive.

Year after year, they continue to drink and drive and die. The most horrific thing is that many of those who die in alcohol-related accidents are not the ones drinking, but innocent victims of someone else's lack of control. They are carried away, while the drunks, their bodies loose and limber due to alcohol, walk away. About 17 died over the Christmas holidays this year. The Alabama Department of Safety estimates more will die over the New Year's holiday.

This year, we will not tell you "Don't Drink and Drive." We'll leave that to the other newspapers, the television public service announcements and commercials. What we will say is directed to those non-drinking innocents - be careful out there. If you have to travel on New Year's Eve, assume that every other driver has been to one too many parties or had one too many drinks, and drive defensively. Expect the unexpected, anticipate stupidity.

The later you are out, the more defensive you should be. Caution and prevention are priceless, and one relaxed moment carries too high a cost.

For those who continue to assume they know their limit, know that there are other limits to contend with - the legal limit, the speeding limit, and the limit of a police officer's patience who has had to clean up the bloody mess of one too many drunken drivers. If you can't greet the New Year without a drink, at least do it without a drive - or with a designated driver.