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Drunk driving: perennially, a heightened holiday-related concern

A recent study with data specifically applicable to one state reveals findings that people across the rest of the country, including in Ohio, would likely view as being unsurprising and equally relevant just about everywhere else in the United States, as well.

The fundamental conclusion of research carried out by a computer science professor at the University of Alabama is this: People in that state are at comparatively high risk of being involved in a car accident in the week leading up to, and including, Christmas.

Moreover, says David Brown, “Drugged and drunken driving could be compounding the problem.”

Again, those observations might strike many people as being the expected outcome of a motor vehicle-related study focused on the winter holiday season, and for the very reasons stressed by Brown.

Brown’s analysis of crash data from last year suggests, as he notes, that many people in the days just prior to Christmas “are anxious to get their shopping done, and they may be frustrated, and other people can aggravate them.”

Then, too, more than a few of them might have had a few drinks prior to hitting the road, which can certainly contribute to agitation and angst when they are feeling rushed and harried by others.

That is just as true in Ohio as anywhere else, being a reality that figuratively drives some somber statistics and underscores the need for extra vigilance on roads everywhere during the holidays.

Here’s a stark number supplied by the anti-drunk driving group MADD: A survey conducted by that organization reveals that nearly three-quarters of respondents 21 and older admit to having seen another person trying to drive after drinking excessively.

Here’s a tandem statistic: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 1,100 people died in drunk driving accidents nationally last year just from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Eve.

Those numbers are certainly chilling and merit this oft-repeated admonition: Don’t drink and drive. And, additionally and for good reason, be especially alert when out on the road in the upcoming weeks.

Source: USA TODAY, "Holiday revelers urged to avoid drunken driving," Larry Copeland, Dec. 11, 2013

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