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Advocates Urge NYE Partygoers, Don’t Drink and Drive

By Daniel Cherry | Published 31 Dec 2012 04:34am | comments
The New Year's Eve holiday is considered the most dangerous day of the year for alcohol related traffic deaths. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, anti drunk driving advocates are urging party goers to make wise choices while they ring in the New Year. 
 
Mississippians fighting against drinking and driving are encouraging those who indulge in alcohol this evening to find a ride home or sleep it off before getting behind the wheel. Last year in Mississippi, 149 people died in alcohol related crashes. Michael Hughes with Safe Kids Mississippi says, many times, innocent children pay the price.
 
"Of the children who die in these crashes, about 50% are riding in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver...about 50%."
 
Mississippi has lowered it's number of drunk driving deaths by more than half since 2007. But Jennifer Stephen, Director of the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital Emergency Services, says, much more often, those in alcohol related accidents are forced to carry painful reminders for the rest of their lives.
 
"I have seen the devastating effects of drunk driving, the fatalities, but the most difficult thing to watch is the learning to walk again, learning to talk again, the effects of learning to live again."
 
Emergency responders like Jim Pollard with American Medical Response urge drivers and passengers to always buckle up, but especially through the holiday.
 
"It will give you better odds of survival, and even if you're not drinking and you're out driving, some of those other folks out on the highway might have had too much. So even if you're stone sober behind the wheel of your car, buckle up because that's your best defense."
 
For the 16th year, AMR is offering those in the Jackson metro area a free ride home to anyone who calls. The number should be posted in most area restaurants and bars.
 
That number is 601-360-0531.

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