The Holiday season is a time of great celebration for many. Christmas parties, family get-togethers, eating out at your favorite restaurant or clubbing are all well-deserved ways to celebrate the start of the New Year. For many, these celebrations also include a few drinks, a glass of wine, a champagne toast or a few beers. As long as it is done in moderation and you are of legal age alcohol is a common part of Holiday celebrations. What is not ok, after choosing to drink alcohol, you later choose to get behind the wheel. Every year that decision leads to tragedies and devastation for many. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, alcohol-related fatalities account for more than 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania.
In 2017, 293 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to drunk driving, devastating the lives of tens of thousands of relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Currently, there are over 2,200 engraved bricks in the DUI Victims’ Memorial Park in Harrisburg. This garden honors and remembers the Pennsylvanians who are needlessly killed every year in drunk driving crashes. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, in 2017alcohol-related crashes increased to 10,346 and there were 293 alcohol-related fatalities. A major concern is the involvement of drinking drivers under the age of 21. 18% of the deaths in the 16-20 age group were drinking drivers. Imagine for a moment the pain a family feels when hearing their loved ones were killed in an accident. Imagine even more if they learn that death could have been prevented.
Remember that it’s never acceptable to drive under the influence. Your lives and the lives of others in your community depend on you making the right choice.
Mary E. Kelleher, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Berks Community Health Center