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As much as brightly decorated trees and gifts, traveling to spend time with friends and family is a holiday tradition. Unfortunately, for many people drinking to excess and then getting behind the wheel is another tradition at this time of year.

Even worse, far too often drunk drivers cause motor vehicle wrecks, injuries and fatalities during a season that most of us want to be the most wonderful time of the year.

Whether you are driving across Greenup County or to other parts of Kentucky or even to other states, you should be especially aware around Christmas and New Year’s Eve that there are likely to be intoxicated drivers on the roads, too.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that nearly 30 percent of all car wrecks involve drivers who have consumed alcohol or drugs (or both) before they started their vehicles.

In Kentucky, the legal threshold for alcohol is a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 percent. The effects of alcohol on the brain and body are undeniable and can include the following:

  • Reaction time: alcohol slows reflexes, which means that drunk drivers often cannot respond in time to changing traffic situations and emergencies.
  • Vision: alcohol slows eye muscles and alters visual perception (often resulting in blurred or diminished vision).
  • Tracking: alcohol impairs your ability to judge your vehicle’s road position, as well as the positions and distances and speeds of other vehicles.
  • Attention deficit: alcohol causes diminished mental focus on driving and often causes drowsiness as well.
  • Judgment: alcohol diminishes a person’s ability to understand situations and make rational decisions – especially quick decisions that are a normal part of safe driving.

The solution to all of the above problems is obvious: don’t drink and drive. Call a taxi or ride-share service or designate a sober driver. Keep yourself safe, your loved ones and other motorists safe by driving sober at all times of the year.