Law enforcement at this time of the year really preaches about the dangers of drinking and driving.
It is a message that needs to be heard all year, but drinking and driving around the holidays unfortunately seems to go together.
Christmas and New Year's are a time for parties. Alcohol flows freely at those parties and some party-goers will ignore the message and get behind the wheel to drive impaired.
Drinking and driving arrests are up with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. According to its statistics, 1,383 more drunk drivers were arrested so far this year compared to 2010.
One positive is the fact that alcohol-related traffic fatalities are down 4 percent in the Buckeye State, according to the highway patrol.
Impaired drivers were responsible for 40 percent of the traffic fatalities in Ohio during 2010, according to the highway patrol
The holiday season has its share of alcohol-related traffic deaths. Last year in Ohio, 39 people lost their life between Thanksgiving and New Year's as a result of an alcohol-related wreck, the patrol reported.
Law enforcement will be out in full force to catch those drivers who ignore the message of drinking and driving during the upcoming weekends.
Many people play it smart. They attend a party at a friend's house with plans to sleep there for the night. Other couples may go to a lavish dinner/dance at a hotel and book a room for the night. Then there are others who actually practice having a designated driver or even renting a limousine.
In the back of many people's minds is the thought they don't want to be in an accident involving a drunk driver. They believe it is dangerous to be out on the roads during holiday parties.
With all that in mind, why isn't the same thinking about New Year's Eve and drunk driving followed the rest of the year?
There may be a lot of alcohol consumed in the next two weekends but there also is a lot consumed any weekend of the year. People leave bars and get behind the wheel without thinking twice. Why think about it during the holidays and not the other days of the year?
Alcohol impairs the ability to drive. It slows reaction time and also causes a driver to cross the center line. There are serious or fatal accidents every weekend in Ohio involving alcohol. Innocent family members are killed because someone was behind the wheel under the influence.
Make a New Year's resolution to not drive under the influence in 2012. Think seriously about the consequences of driving while impaired. It isn't worth it.