COLUMBUS – While the holidays are generally a time of great joy, celebrating the season can be difficult for the victims and survivors of drunken-driving crashes.
Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Ohio is honoring lives lost by impaired driving with a National Day of Remembrance and a candlelight vigil. Doug Scoles, executive director with MADD in Ohio, says about 300 people are killed in Ohio, and more than 6,000 are injured each year in alcohol-related car crashes.
“These are not just numbers we’re putting up,” says Scoles. These are faces and these are families and loved ones behind those numbers. That’s what the day of remembrance is all about. We’re trying to pay tribute to those loved ones with love and that they’re not forgotten, that they always have a place with us.”
He says from Thanksgiving to New Year’s in 2013, there were 846 drunken-driving fatalities across the country. To pay tribute to those killed by an impaired driver, a virtual place setting can be personalized online at MADD.org. The candlelight vigil is at 7 p.m. at the Grove City Community Center.
Scoles says drunken-driving accidents could be avoided if people would plan ahead.
“If you’re going to be a party host, be a responsible, social party host,” says Scoles. “And if you’re going to have alcohol, plan ahead and have a non-drinking designated driver, because it is a fact we see more fatalities, more injuries, during this time of year from impaired driving.”
Scoles adds, hosts should offer plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages, have a sober driver on hand to drive guests home, and be prepared to take the keys if someone is impaired.