Long considered the biggest party night of the year, New Year's Eve in recent years has run a distant second to the holiday that has the largest number of drunk driving fatalities. The deadliest holiday is Thanksgiving - despite its reputation as a holiday to spend with family gorging ourselves and watching football. This year 11 people died on Ohio highways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, down from 17 in 2011.
After a record low in 2009 of 1,022 fatalities, the state registered a spike to 1,080 in 2010, but then declined again to an all-time low of 1,015 in 2011. As of Dec. 6 this year, we had already surpassed last year's total with 1,016 deaths.
Driving while impaired can be deadly, but it can also be costly. In Ohio, even the first offense of OVI could cause you to spend three days in jail or a driver intervention program, pay a fine of $200 to $1,000 and have your driver's license suspended for six months to three years. And these are the costs involved only in the penalty phase. Add to this the increased cost of insurance premiums and the possibility of lost employment due to an OVI conviction and attorney fees.
New Year's Eve celebrations can still be fun without including alcohol. Several area communities, including Salem in Columbiana County and Youngstown and Canfield in Mahoning County, host alcohol-free celebrations Monday night which offer a wide variety of entertainment and fun that everyone in the family can enjoy.
A wise New Year's resolution would be to resolve not to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in 2013. Maybe we can make 2013 one of the safest ever on the roadways.