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As the summer comes to an end, the long Labor Day weekend is the one last chance to enjoy the warm weather and get together with family and friends for picnics, beach days and outdoor parties filled with barbeque and drinking before the Fall sets in. This combined with the increased in holiday weekend traffic as people are coming and going is a recipe for disaster. The tragedy is that driving under the influence of alcohol kills more than 10,000 people a year and a big portion of this number occurs over holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. To try and tackle this problem, counties across the country will be participating in the “National Crackdown on Drunk Driving” from August 15 – September 1. The idea is that there are absolutely no excuses:  “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”. The police departments in places like Daughin County, PA, Henderson, KY, Columbus, OH, Montclair, NJ and Freeport, IL have all confirmed that they will be aggressively on the lookout for alcohol or drug impaired drivers as well as those violating the seat belt laws. In fact, over this same time period last year, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department made 2,313 DUI arrests! The reality is that research shows that the more law enforcement is visible on the roads and the more sobriety checkpoints, the higher the awareness to not drink and drive. People take a look around and think twice about their actions.

The bottom line is that you just shouldn’t get behind the wheel if you have been drinking alcohol. You will be a target and it’s not worth it. Not only do you have an increased chance of hurting yourself or someone else, but also getting a DUI will put a huge amount of additional stress on your life. Not only can you expect some jail time, confiscation of your automobile overnight, missed work for court appearances, community service work and an alcohol and drug education class, but the financial cost is astronomical. It varies based on where in the country you live, but once you add up the court fines, attorney’s fees, expense for an alternative form of transportation during the time your license is revoked and insurance increase, the average person is looking at paying anywhere between $6,000 - $20,000 dollars! Honestly, you could rent yourself a chauffeured limo, eat at the best restaurant in town, stay in an exclusive hotel and come out way ahead with an enjoyable and safe night to remember.

So celebrate the last long weekend of the summer safely by planning ahead. If you plan on drinking, assign someone to be a designated driver or hire a professional driver. Make sure the designated driver isn’t just the “most sober” out of the bunch, but someone who is truly dedicated to not drinking. Pay for delicious non-alcoholic drinks for the driver or promise to be the sober driver at another time to help solidify the deal.