VIDEO: The Repercussions of One Bad Decision

Don’t drink and drive — it’s a warning we’ve all heard countless times and yet far too many drivers choose to ignore the plea. That’s true especially during the holiday season.

Each and every year, the holiday season produces irrefutable evidence that after drinking, drivers cannot be relied on to accurately judge their own fitness to get behind the wheel. Sometimes colleagues, friends, and family need to take precautionary measures or to intervene.

Yes, that can be uncomfortable. But consider what's at stake.

During the 2015 Christmas holiday period (from 6 p.m. on Dec. 24 to 5:59 a.m. on Dec. 28), the nation lost 34 lives per day in drunk driving crashes — a total of 120 deaths over 3.5 days. During the New Year’s holiday period (from 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 5:59 a.m. on Jan. 5), the country lost 31 lives per day in drunk driving crashes — a total of 139 deaths over 4.5 days. Combined, these two holidays last year accounted for 259 lives lost in drunk driving crashes, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What can you personally do to prevent drunk driving this holiday season? Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Before drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when you’re with a group.
  • Don’t let your friends drive impaired.
  • If you have been drinking or using drugs, get a ride home or call a taxi or ride-hailing service.
  • If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver. Also, offer alcohol-free beverages and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver. (Offering food can also help prevent guests from over-indulging in alcoholic drinks.)

To watch a video depicting how one decision to drink and drive can leave a lasting impact on many lives, click on the photo or link below the headline.