We’re in the festive season which is replete with family gatherings, work parties, celebrations of all kinds.
There is a dark side to it all, unfortunately.
It’s also a time of year when if you are alone while others are having fun, you’re more likely to resort to drugs or alcohol to carry you through. Whether it’s a result of celebration or depression, this is a time of year when people tend to overdo it.
With three weeks to go before New Year’s Day, let’s resolve to keep it in check – or at least have a Plan B if you don’t. If you get behind the wheel drunk, you’re taking your life into your hands. You’re taking the life of everyone else on the road in your hands as well.
And you’re committing a crime.
According to a report by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s from this year that analyzed 2020 activity, here are some sobering statistics:
• In 2020, 1,666 drivers were involved in fatal crashes in Illinois.
• For 25% of them, some alcohol was involved.
• 350 of them were legally drunk.
• 220 of them were twice the legal limit or more.
• Nationwide, the percentage of fatal crashes involving intoxicated motorists was 30%.
• Holiday times, whether Memorial Day, Labor Day or the winter holidays, are peak times for disaster.
• During Thanksgiving 2020, 36% of fatal crashes involved alcohol.
• For Christmas, it was 39%.
• And for New Year’s it was a whopping 49%. That was the second highest rate for New Year’s in the last 25 years.
It’s no wonder that December is Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
• Drivers between 21 and 44 years old account for most of the drunken drivers involved in fatal crashes.
• The three hours after midnight and the three hours before midnight rank as the most likely time for a fatal crash to occur.
“All the holiday festivities can bring temptations with potentially tragic consequences for individuals with substance use disorders or those who are in recovery,” said Melissa Loesch, director of Rosecrance of Boone and McHenry counties, which provides mental health and addiction treatment. “However, a loving, supportive system of care along with self-awareness and a plan for uncomfortable situations can make a difference. Please know that getting help now can save your life, and others, this year.”
If you need help, call:
• The National Substance Abuse and Addiction hotline at 844-289-0879
• The National Mental Health Hotline at 866-903-3787
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
The Daily Herald