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Getting the message: Don't drink and drive

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If you've flipped through a newspaper, watched TV or listened to the radio recently, chances are, you've heard the message: Don't drink and drive this holiday season.

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We'll repeat it here once more: Don't drink and drive this holiday season.

We could mention the physical risks, both to the person who gets behind the wheel after having one too many, and to everyone else on the road who is put in danger by an impaired driver.

We could mention the legal and financial consequences -- three days in jail for a first offense, heavy fines, court and legal fees, the cost of installing an ignition interlock in your vehicle, and a mandatory driver's license suspension. The Alaska State Troopers and local police departments will be ramping up DUI enforcement beginning today, so the chances of being caught are going to increase.

But if all that doesn't deter a would-be impaired driver, if that doesn't cause someone to reconsider before committing an inexcusable lapse in judgement, consider this: beyond the physical risks and legal and financial consequences of driving under the influence, there's the human impact. There's family and friends who will have to deal with the fallout from an impaired driver's actions. A trip to jail or court will spoil anyone's holiday; a trip to the hospital, or worse, could ruin it for a lifetime.

There's nothing wrong with enjoying some holiday cheer, but do so responsibly. Designate a driver, call a cab or stay the night. If fellow revelers have a bit too much, do whatever it takes to keep them from getting behind a wheel.

Christmas, New Year's and Hanukkah should be a joyous time. Please don't let a bad decision ruin it.

Don't drink and drive this holiday season.

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