Safety, responsibility should be a top concern

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2015



When ringing in the New Year, one should consider responsibility and safety as a top priority.

As the holiday approaches, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol anticipates a safe end to 2015. Troopers will focus on violations such as driving while impaired, excessive speed, following in close proximity and the use of seat belts, all of which can be detrimental to drivers on North Carolina roads.

In North Carolina last year, 27 people died in motor vehicle collisions between Christmas and New Year’s Day. As of this date, troopers have investigated 5,038 collisions statewide, all of which have been attributed to alcohol impairment, according to the highway patrol website. Likewise, troopers have made 21,554 DWI arrests.

This New Year, the State Highway Patrol, asks motorists to help ensure safe travel by following these suggested tips: be responsible; plan ahead; designate a sober driver; call a cab, a friend or family member when consuming too much alcohol — don’t drive; spend the night where you are, if possible.

Upon experiencing impaired and unpredictable drivers, residents are asked to report such activity by dialing *HP or *47 on cellular phones. Callers should be ready to give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license plate number, if at all possible.

From a different perspective, New Year’s can be a time during which partygoers have their guards down. Something important to remember is drinking and driving or being on the road where impaired drivers may be is not the only danger. Follow these tips for safety while celebrating New Year’s: don’t sit drinks down and leave them unattended for any reason, for the simple fact that it could be spiked with other intoxicating substances; be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in public places, and make sure a communication device of some sort is on hand at all times in case of an emergency; do not engage in using firearms or fireworks due to the possibility of something going awry; do not travel or attend any parties or functions alone — bring friends who will have your back in any situation.

New Year’s is a time for fun and celebration with friends, and in some cases, complete strangers. But it is vital to one’s safety and the safety of others to use good judgment and common sense when out and about, celebrating the year to come.