"With the arrival of warmer weather, we expect more people to venture out to celebrate the holiday than normal," Brazil City Police Chief Larry Pierce told The Brazil Times, regarding celebrations that will undoubtedly include parties, family gatherings and special events. "We want people to have fun and enjoy the holiday, but to do it responsibly."
According to information from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, there are some easy steps a driver can use to enjoy a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing their life and the lives of the others who may be on the road, including:
* Make plans to travel safely before the festivities begin,
* If planning to drink, designate a sober driver and give that person the car keys,
* If impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation,
* If a drunk driver is seen on the road, call 911 or contact local law enforcement agency, and
* If someone is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and/or help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
"We will have more officers out on patrol throughout the three-day weekend," Pierce said.
"We are seeing an increase in accidents that are associated with the use of electronics," Heaton said. "Everyone is doing it, but many people don't realize the dangers associated with texting or using cell phones while driving."
According to Heaton, the distraction of using such devices while driving is just as dangerous, including inconsistent speeds, erratic driving, lowered motor skills and not paying attention to the road or other drivers.
"People should be able to enjoy the holidays with family and friends," Heaton said. "But too often people think, 'I'm OK,' or they are invincible, they're not. Sad thing is, it's usually not the family of the drunk driver whose door we have to knock on. It's the sober, unexpected victim's family we have to tell the sad news. It's not a good way to start the New Year for anyone."