LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Along with all the happiness and good cheer, the holidays bring a serious danger - increased drinking and driving. Data shows that the time period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day includes some of the most dangerous days for drunk driving deaths.
In 2010, 31 percent of highway fatalities were caused by drunk driving, and that number spikes dramatically during the holidays.
"This is one of the most risky times of year to be on the road when you take into account that people have this time, four day weekends, Christmas celebrations, New Year's celebrations, which typically have as part of the tradition consuming alcohol and when you have people traveling more miles," said Teresa Belew, the section chief of violence and injury prevention for The Arkansas Department of Health.
"Don't let Christmas morning become a Christmas of mourning because you have not made wise choices when it comes to traffic safety, consuming alcohol if you get behind the wheel, and how you host your holiday parties," she said.
While drinking and driving can cost lives, it can also be a hit to your wallet. In Pulaski County and around the state, law enforcement officers warn that they'll be out in full force.
"We'll increase our patrols and be looking for intoxicated drivers. There will be officers working overtime."
Lieutenant Cody Burk said. "First thing is you'll go to jail, then you'll have to bond out on DWI charges, there's fees involved in that."
A first offense DWI can cost you around $10,000 in fines, legal fees and increased insurance rates.
Those are some sobering statistics that may make you think twice before getting behind the wheel this holiday season.
If you plan to drink, plan not to drive. That's really the safest and most important thing you can do.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving said that that one in three families will
TIP: If you can't find a designated driver, you can always program the number of a cab service into your cell phone.