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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Find alternative to driving drunk

An article in Thursday's Daily reflected a 23-year-old Decatur woman's thoughts about New Year's Eve falling on a Sunday.

"We probably could have found somewhere here to go, like Café 113 or something. Now we're gonna have to go to Huntsville, and someone's gonna get a DUI. Hope it's not me," the young lady said.

We hope not, too.

Each year, law enforcement personnel step up traffic enforcement on New Year's Eve, a night that traditionally includes partying with friends. But each year on New Year's Day, we hear about tragic, fatal accidents in which alcohol was a contributing factor.

It doesn't have to be that way.

There are many alternatives to drinking at and then driving from New Year's Eve celebrations. Abstaining from alcohol is the most obvious choice, but there are other, almost-equally effective ways to ensure safety on this night of 1,000 drunks.

Designating a non-drinker as the evening's driver has become more popular in recent years due to a widespread advertising campaign. It is a smart idea.

If no one is willing or able to play the role of designated driver, taxi services are another preferred alternative to driving drunk. Among those listed in the Decatur telephone directory are A-1 Decatur Taxi Co., 353-8434 or 355-5530; Gold Cab, 355-0099 or (888)359-0099; Hartselle Cab Service, 773-6516; and River City Cab, 233-6090 or 350-6949. If calling a cab on New Year's Eve, plan ahead and be patient. They'll be busy.

If possible, stay overnight after partying at a friend's home. That keeps you completely off the road and away from "the other guy" who may have had too much.

Finally, Athens police Capt. Tracy Harrison says police will drive partygoers home if circumstances warrant it. But let's not bother the authorities. They'll have their hands full.

Be smart, be safe and stay alive.

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