Plan ahead for safe New Year’s celebration

By Katrina Goforth -

As you prepare for your New Year’s celebrations, whether you’re planning to involve alcohol or not, it’s always a good idea to be cautious of the roads on New Year’s Eve.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2015 nationwide, an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 51 minutes. These alcohol-related deaths accounted for 29 percent of all highway fatalities in 2015.

How can you celebrate and stay safe? The NHTSA offers a few suggestions:

• Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration;

• Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink. Sometimes one drink can be too many;

Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink. • Call someone sober instead;

Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired;

• Use ride-sharing services or call a taxi;

• Be a responsible host by reminding guests to stay safe and by offering alcohol-free beverages, such as mocktails;

• When encountering an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 or pull over to a safe location to make the call; and

• Remember that prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also impair the ability to drive safely.

What driving alternatives are there available in Altus?

If you’re an airman at Altus Air Force Base, you can call AADD (Airmen Against Drunk Driving), a volunteer service that is free and open to anyone who works or lives on Altus Air Force Base. If you’d like to volunteer to be a driver, contact Tech. Sgt. Paul Tejano at 481-6037. For a ride call 481-RIDE.

Southwest Transit’s Altus Express shuttle operates in Altus from 6 p.m. to 2:10 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. The route originates at Altus Air Force Base Club Altus and travels Main Street and East Broadway. This route is repeated hourly and supported by rider donation. Call 580-471-0402.

Altus Cab Company offers 24-hour taxi service. Call 580-482-0383 for pickup and pricing.

By Katrina Goforth

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