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Use designated drivers to prevent DWI in holiday season

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During the Holidays many people are driving to attend parties and functions connected with the Christmas Season. Many of these functions serve and provide alcohol to the guests. To avoid finding yourself charged with an alcohol related offense, it is best to use a designated driver for these functions or take a cab or other mode of transport.

The designated driver program reaches its 23nd anniversary in 2011, and the Louisiana highway safety officials are urging partygoers to take necessary steps in advance of holiday celebrations to avoid driving while impaired.

Such steps can include having a nondrinking designated driver, arranging taxi rides, reserving overnight hotel rooms where celebrations take place, using public buses and other means of transportation. Alcohol was a factor in 48 percent of the highway crash deaths that occurred in Louisiana in 2009.

“Your chances of avoiding a serious crash … are greatly improved if you don’t drink and drive or ride with someone who hasn’t been drinking,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “Perhaps more than other holidays, New Year’s Eve celebrations often involve alcohol consumption. The designated driver program and Tipsy Taxi are only two of the popular programs that partygoers can participate in to avoid driving while impaired.”

The designated driver program has come into widespread use in the United States and other countries since being developed by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communication in cooperation with major Hollywood studios and television networks. Since the first designated driver campaign was launched in 1988, the program has grown across the United States and numerous other countries.

When the designated driver program was launched in 1988, alcohol-related crash fatalities nationwide stood at more than 27,000. Twenty years later, in 2008, there were nearly 12,000 alcohol-related crash fatalities in the U.S.–a reduction of 56.8 percent. During that same period all traffic deaths fell by 20.8 percent. Numerous anti-drunk driving efforts including stricter enforcement, tougher laws, increasing public awareness and designated driver campaigns have been implemented over the past few decades.

Remember to use a designated driver if you are drinking during the holiday season. If you are arrested or charged with an alcohol related offense, please call Harmon, Smith and Vourvoulias at 504.680.4303 or 504.680.4319 to protect your rights and driving privileges.

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About Jim Harmon

Jim Harmon is a founding member of Harmon, Smith and Vourvoulias L.L.C. Jim practices primarily in the areas of personal injury litigation, workers' compensation, and DUI defense.Jim Harmon's Google+ Profile

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