- Dear Abby
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Don't be stupid. Don't celebrate the arrival of a new year by drinking and driving. State and local police will be out in force looking for drivers operating under the influence tonight, but more importantly driving while impaired endangers your safety and that of others. If you plan to indulge have a designated driver or a place to stay the night.
The good news is that the trends involving drunken driving are moving in the right direction. The culture has changed over the last 30 years. Thanks to the efforts of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and other advocates, it is no longer considered a simple lapse in judgment to have a few too many and drive, it is considered a crime.
The message is getting through. Between the early 1980s - when MADD was formed - and 2010, driving fatalities involving alcohol impairment dropped 64 percent. Since 1991 alone drunken driving fatal crashes have been cut almost in half, from 6.3 per 100,000 people in 1991 to 3.3 in 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available.
Connecticut has seen a nearly 10 percent drop in alcohol-impaired fatalities over the last decade.
Still, too many are still dying. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33,808 people died in traffic crashes in 2010, about 11,000 of them - nearly one-third - involved a driver with an illegal blood-alcohol level. Clearly there is room for improvement.
This may be a sobering topic on what is traditionally a festive night, but to enjoy 2013 you have to get there alive. Don't drink and drive.