Drink Responsibly This Holiday Season - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/11/03

Drink Responsibly This Holiday Season

So far this year more than a quarter of a million people have been injured in car crashes on Texas roadways and more than 1,700 have been killed. So this time of year, state and local law enforcement are reminding you to drink responsibly to make sure the holidays are a time of celebration and not mourning.

"My brother-in-law was hit by a drunk driver was in a coma for seven months in rehab for 2 years is paralyzed on his right side and can't speak," says Karen Slay, who knows first hand about the effects of drinking and driving.

"He was hit by a drunk driver that ran a stop sign and was traveling 95 mph and T-boned him," says Slay. But she considers herself lucky, because almost everyone she meets knows someone who's been involved in an alcohol related accident, many of them lost loved ones.

Now Slay leads the Injury Prevention Coalition of the South Plains as an advocate against drunk driving. "I think if you ask any adult these days thy have a story to tell and we're trying to make it where there are fewer of those personal stories out there," says Slay.

But state trooper Corporal John Gonzalez says those stories and scenes like this are rising.

"Texas leads the nation in alcohol related fatalities and as public servants we're trying to do the best we can in enforcement," says Gonzalez.

Out of 29 traffic fatalities in Lubbock this year, almost half of them involved alcohol or drugs. And with the holiday season upon us state and local law enforcement want to remind you to drink responsibly.

"We want everybody to have a great holiday and it's not about being here it's about being with your loved ones we'd much rather see you at home than take you to jail or in a body bag," says Gonzalez.

"I think everybody's lives are touched by traffic accidents. We all either have been involved or know someone that has been involved in an accident," says Lubbock Police Captain Richard Foster.

For Shannon Ramos that accident involved her husband, and she says the effects of drunk driving doesn't stop with the victim it affects everyone around them.

"Think about the most important person in your life whether that's a son, a daughter or spouse and imagine they're part of a number. It's not just a number, it's people's lives that are living everyday through this grief and this pain and it's preventable and it can happen to you and it needs to be stopped," says Ramos.

And if you think drunk driving can't affect someone you know statistics show it could. Studies show there's an accident involving drunk driving every 2 minutes in this country. In an effort to stop drunk driving and remember victims, the Injury Prevention Coalition is asking that tomorrow you drive with your headlights on and leave your porch lights on all day as part of Lights On for Life Day.

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