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12/29/2017
Play it safe

This is no time to be casual about safety.

The number of traffic accidents increases during the holiday season that leads up to and ends with ringing in of the New Year. New Year’s Eve is Sunday; the new year starts Monday.

That makes this a weekend to celebrate.

Ketchikan will do it all — in the bars and lounges, at homes, with and without beer and liquor, preparing an array of snacks and meals and settling in for movies and games.

Whichever the choice, if choices must be made, the key to a successful celebration is being and keeping others safe.

New Year’s celebrations tend to bring people out more than usual to the bars, lounges, restaurants and house parties. It’s important to be a careful driver, and, if planning to consume alcoholic beverages, to also plan for a ride with someone who isn’t drinking. This might be a friend or a taxicab driver, but, in either case, it’s recommended that a backup plan for a ride is in place before the celebrating begins.

Sometimes friends change their mind after a party begins and join the imbibing. Or the demand for taxis makes waiting for one longer than the length of one’s patience, especially if one is under the influence.

For those who’d rather stay home and host a party, there’s a responsibility of ensuring that guests don’t drink and drive. Driving guests home, calling them a taxi or letting them stay over are the best precautions against a traffic accident.

In 2016, Alaska Department of Transportation statistics show 3,063 arrests for driving impaired. While these statistics reflect the entire year, they include those that occurred during the New Year’s celebration.

Most of the arrests involved drivers in their late 20s and early 30s. The least arrests tended to be with drivers 65 and older. Perhaps wisdom in this regard increases with age.

This information serves to point out the extent of the problem of driving impaired and is a reminder with the upcoming weekend of celebrating to make good choices — choices that won’t make for another statistic.