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The holidays can be a time for sorrow, too

For most people in Pittsburgh, the holiday season is filled with fun, friends and family. It is a time to use up vacation days, go to holiday parties and spend time with loved ones. For many, this may mean having a drink or two, but there are also some who drink too much and then get in their cars.

When someone is driving drunk, he or she puts everyone on Pittsburgh's streets at risk. Driving while intoxicated lowers a driver's reaction time, impairs his or her judgment, and increases the risk of a serious accident. Unfortunately, this holiday season will likely see an uptick in the number of serious and fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers, meaning that some people in Pennsylvania will be spending their holidays coming to terms with the sudden loss of a loved one.

What is worse is that many of us have seen people drive home after having had too much to drink. The national Mothers Against Drunk Driving group has surveyed 632 adults and found that nearly 75 percent of them have "been at an event and seen someone try to drive home after drinking too much." Although the survey doesn't give any information on whether people reacted, tried to stop the driver or provided an alternative way home for the intoxicated person, it is probably safe to say that at least some of those would-be drivers were allowed to drive.

Losing a loved one to a drunk driver can be shocking and painful. No one expects to find out that a family member has been in an accident, and no one likes to hear that the accident could have been prevented if both drivers had been sober. Sadly, this month may see even more family members grieving over loved ones' wrongful deaths.

Source: USA Today, "Holiday revelers urged to avoid drunken driving," Larry Copeland, Dec. 11, 2013

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