By Dawnita Fogleman

Staff Writer

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

President of the United States of America Donald Trump in a proclamation issued Nov. 30, 2018 stated, “Every day, lives are needlessly lost and irreparably altered by collisions involving drugs or alcohol. These horrible tragedies are avoidable, and each of us must make responsible decisions to prevent them and keep our communities safe.”

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Nightengale said planning ahead is important. He said to be aware if alcohol is being served and make arrangements.

“Also the host of the party should have non alcoholic beverages for designated drivers. And the host should be responsible too, to make sure, if they have a guest that is too impaired to drive. They need to take it upon themselves to take that person home or call and get them a cab,” Nightengale stated.

According to Nightengale, the host can be held liable if someone leaves their home too impaired to drive and something bad happens.

“Be responsible and see to it that they get home safely. Cause I think some of the responsibility falls on the host too. You know, you are the one supplying the alcohol and if you let somebody out the door of your home that you know is intoxicated and they get into an automobile, you could be facing some liability if that person gets in a wreck and injures or kills somebody or themselves,” explained Nightengale.

Distracted driving has become an increasing concern for law enforcement agencies.

Nightengale cautioned during the holidays they are looking for impaired and distracted drivers, just to keep the highways safe. He also admonished all drivers to be responsible and to drive defensively.

“We have to be defensive. We have to look out, not only for our driving but the other people driving,” Nightengale reminded. “Always be thinking ahead, you know, what if this car doesn’t stop at this stop sign. What am I gonna do? And you see distracted drivers all the time.”

Nightengale warned every holiday, somewhere in Oklahoma there will be a fatality and that will be what those families remember during the holidays for the rest of their lives.

In 2016 between Friday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 26, there were four persons killed in fatal crashes in Oklahoma; one was alcohol-related, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety office.

Troopers just want everyone to have safe holidays, according to Nightengale. “The holidays are supposed to be happy times for families.”

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