Ring in the New Year — safely

By Heather Acheson, Columbian staff writer

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The New Year is just around the corner, and for many it will be a time to get dressed up and celebrate the countdown to 2012.

With many of those celebrations involving alcohol, it is also a time to remember to plan ahead and make good decisions about drinking and driving. Even the best of us can be tempted to believe it’s safe to drive after “just a few drinks.” But statistics show that this just isn’t the case. It doesn’t take much alcohol to create impairment, and effectively put lives in danger.

According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, in 2010 in Clark County 11 people lost their lives to impaired drivers. Statewide in 2010, 188 people died as a result of crashes involving drinking drivers.

As noted in an article in today’s Post-Record, in an effort to keep our roadways safe officers from local jurisdictions including Camas and Washougal will once again be heavily canvassing the area as part of Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by the year 2030.

Termed “Target Zero,” the effort focuses on education, enforcement, engineering and emergency medical services. The plan involves giving drivers the information to make the best choices, using driver behavior data to help law-enforcement officers pinpoint locations with a high number of serious collisions, using best practices to prevent or reduce the severity of collisions, and providing high-quality and rapid emergency and medical response to injury collisions.

Each one of us has the power to prevent drunk driving injuries and fatalities by never get behind the wheel after drinking. This is the action that truly saves lives.

For additional information about Target Zero, visit www.targetzero.com.