Festive gatherings fill our calendars during this joyful season, but in the blink of an eye, all of the festive fun can turn into tragedy with one bad decision – the decision to drink and drive.
This holiday season, do your part in making our city an even safer place. Practice caution on the roadways, report drunk drivers and plan ahead. If you are planning to go out, I encourage you to designate a sober driver in advance, keep a taxi phone number handy or simply stay in to avoid driving altogether. If you are designated as the sober driver this holiday season, you should practice extra precaution by staying alert. As always, all drivers should buckle up and encourage other riders to do the same.
Our dedicated Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department, as well as CHP officers, are always vigilant around the holidays to ensure drunk drivers are caught and arrested. And even though local law enforcement does their best to try and prevent tragedy on the roadways, there will still be a number of people who make the unfortunate decision to drink and drive.
Driving under the influence can not only result in injury or death, but DUI arrests also have serious financial repercussions. Depending on the severity of the incident, DUI fines can sometimes total more than $10,000. This is in addition to the fact that this costly decision could also cost someone else their life. A DUI doesn’t go away either – convictions can also hold long standing consequences including jail time, the loss of your driver’s license, higher car insurance rates and serious damage to your hard-earned reputation.
Here are a few things to remember when celebrating, not just this holiday season, but always:
- Just one drink can impair your judgement and increase the risk of an accident.
- If you plan to drink, plan ahead and designate a responsible sober driver.
- If you drink, do not drive. Call a taxi, Uber, Lyft, friend or family member.
- Be a good friend and neighbor and look out for others. Keep those who are drinking from getting behind the wheel.
- If you see something, say something. Report reckless drivers by dialing 9-1-1.
- Remind teens about Santa Clarita’s Safe Rides, which provides free rides home for teens. Rides home are available from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights by calling 661-259-6330.
Driving safe and responsibly is important year round, not just during the holidays. That’s why the city’s Drive Focus Live campaign is so important. We can all do our part to make our streets safer.
Take the pledge TODAY to be a safer driver, passenger and pedestrian by visiting santa-clarita.com/DriveFocusLive. Encourage friends and family to take the pledge too! A simple pledge could make a huge difference.
Please remember, one drink could cost you your life or the life of someone else. Celebrate safely this holiday season. Your life matters to us.
Mayor Pro Tem Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].