A sobering look at the New Year's holiday shows it is a dangerous time to be on Missouri's roadways.
Statistics from the Missouri Highway Patrol show 777 traffic crashes occurred in the state during last year's holiday counting period, which spanned more than three days.
Those crashes resulted in six deaths and 311 injuries, which translates into a person being killed or injured every 14.8 minutes.
Because New Year's celebrations traditionally involve alcohol, the patrol warns: "The roadway is no place for a driver who has been drinking. If you cause a traffic crash, your new year might bring getting arrested, legal fees, medical bills, or jail time! If you kill or injure someone, you'll pay a price for the rest of your life. No one wants to begin 2013 in jail."
The consequences of drinking and driving are severe, but easily avoided by designating a sober driver, calling a taxi or using the Sober Driver Program.
The program is described on the Jefferson City Police Department's website as a community-based program that "provides free taxi rides to individuals who have become too impaired to legally or safely drive an automobile, or to passengers who choose not to ride with an impaired driver."
Hosts of private parties may acquire Sober Driver tickets for guests by contacting the police department at 634-6397 or Fechtel Beverage at 636-5161.
In addition, patrons at bars or restaurants may call or have the establishment call 636-7102 for a free taxi ride home.
Sober Driver tickets are valued at $10; any additional costs are the rider's responsibility.
Alcohol impairs judgment, which means it is important to commit to not driving before starting to drink.
Putting yourself and others at risk is no way to end this year or begin the next. Resolve not to drink and drive.