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How you can avoid drunk driving charges & dangers this Christmas

Because Thanksgiving fell on a particularly late day in November this year, it is hard to believe how quickly Christmas is coming. Most Wisconsinites are busy shopping for presents, picking up family at the airport, buying decorations and attending Christmas parties.

This all adds up to a lot of extra driving. And in many cases, driving home after having a few drinks. Alcohol-related car accidents and charges of operating while intoxicated tend to spike around this time of year. As such, Wisconsin drivers need to be especially careful over the next few weeks.

How prevalent is drunk/buzzed driving during the Christmas season? Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently conducted an online survey of adults aged 21 and older. Of the 632 adults who took the survey, 73 percent had "been at an event and seen someone try to drive home after drinking too much."

Because drinking and driving tends to increase around this time of year, it should come as no surprise that more law enforcement officers are patrolling roads and highways right now. There will likely be an increase in the number of traffic stops and OWI charges as we approach Christmas and New Year's.

In addition to legal dangers, drivers may also face increased physical danger as well. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve last year, nearly 1,100 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes on U.S. roads.

In order to keep your holidays happy and incident-free, please try to arrange for sober transportation whenever you'll be celebrating with alcohol.

Source: USA Today, "Holiday revelers urged to avoid drunken driving," Larry Copeland, Dec. 11, 2013

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