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Be safe on the roads this holiday season

• Dec 19, 2017 at 4:00 PM

The holiday season is in full swing and that means many things: shopping, decorating, and gatherings with family and friends among many other activities.

Often these holiday gatherings might include enjoying an adult beverage.

We certainly can see the appeal of sipping a glass of wine with friends in front of a warm fireplace, or some “enhanced” egg nog with loved ones while singing Christmas carols around the living room piano, and, for many, a New Year’s celebration wouldn’t be complete without a toast with some bubbly at midnight.

With that in mind — we know it’s not a new message, but it’s one worth repeating — we want to remind everyone to simply be safe and smart when it comes to getting behind the wheel if you’ve indulged in some “holiday cheer.”

We know it’s a chorus you’ve probably heard as many times over the years around the holidays as “Jingle Bells,” but it’s a song that still needs to be sung.

Year-round, driving while intoxicated or impaired driving continue to be among the most common misdemeanor offenses we see in our weekly court roundups.

The Michigan State Police reported from 6 p.m. Dec. 23 to 11:59 p.m. Dec. 26, 2016, six people died in five crashes in Michigan. Two of those crashes involved alcohol. In the same report, the state police reported that 11 people died in nine crashes on Michigan roads from 6 p.m. Dec. 30, 2016, to 11:59 p.m., Jan 2, 2017. At least four of those crashes involved alcohol.

According to the report, since 1972, on average, 13 people die on Michigan roads for each of the three-day periods surrounding both the Christmas and New Year holidays. (The report didn’t provide an average on how many of those are alcohol related).

On a more local level, another Michigan State Police report showed that, for all of 2016, there were 46 alcohol-related crashes in Emmet County resulting in one fatality and 24 people being injured. In Charlevoix County, for all of 2016, 25 alcohol-related crashes were reported in 2016, resulting in one death and nine people being injured.

While the human toll associated with these crashes is, of course, the most important factor, there’s also all of the headaches that come with a drunken driving arrest and/or conviction to consider, as well.

With all that in mind, we simply want to encourage everyone to be safe on the roads this holiday season. No one wants to spend the a holiday in jail, in the hospital or making funeral arrangements.

— PETOSKEY NEWS-REVIEW (AP)

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