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Mercy Says To Have Courage This Holiday Season

Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving
Credit: buzzeddriving.adcouncil.org

Organizations around the country are doing their part to remind people of the staggering toll of alcohol related traffic accidents, especially during the holiday season.  KSMU’s Shane Franklin spoke with one local organization about the numbers, and got a few tips on how to stay safe.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 33,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2010. Alcohol-impaired drivers were involved in about a third of those fatalities. 

Had people made the responsible decision to not mix drinking and driving, countless of friends and families would have been spared the loss of a loved one.

This is why Mercy Injury Prevention Center is spearheading the Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaign in the Springfield area.

Mark Peck is the trauma outreach coordinator for Mercy Hospital Springfield. He says that drinking and driving is never worth it, and the tragic loss of life can be avoided if people act responsibly and help each other keep people who have been drinking off the roads. 

“A good tactic is to redirect that person. Try to get them involved in some other activity at the party. Try to get them to stay, whether it be to eat, or to stay a little bit longer until you can talk to them and convince them make the right decision to find a safe way home.”

Considering all the festivities, the holiday season can be especially dangerous. In 2010, 25 people were killed per day in crashes involving drivers under the influence of alcohol.

This holiday season, Mercy wants to remind people in the Ozarks that if you plan to drink, make sure you have designated a sober driver before the party begins.  They say that if you plan on drinking, also plan to not drive, they recommend taking a taxi, calling sober friends or family, or utilizing public transportation.

Lastly, Mercy wants to remind people to not just make sure that you are safe, but look out for your friends and family. If you know someone has been drinking, don’t let them get behind the wheel. Help them find another way home.

“There are a lot on instances where you are a passive bystander. You see this occurring and you don’t want to act because you are afraid of how you are going to be perceived. I would say to have courage, and know that even though at that moment you might be perceived as bringing down the party, that you’re really saving their life. You’re protecting their future, and potentially someone else’s future.”

For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.