Enjoying the Holidays Sensibly

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

For most people, this is a special time of the year. It is a time to get together with family and friends. People often get so caught up with all the hectic activity of the season — the shopping, the wrapping, the cards, the decorating and the cooking — that they lose track of things a bit. It is easy to get so caught up in the moment that one ends up overindulging, and we have to be careful.

Combining this overdoing with driving just adds to the problem. The most prevalent concern this time of year is drinking too much and driving. I know that there are many occasions during the holiday season where the temptation to drink and drive may be present — holiday parties, New Year’s celebrations, and long evenings with family and friends.

Driving while intoxicated has dire consequences. In greatly increases the likelihood of an accident, and if you are stopped by the police, the penalties in Maine are severe. A person driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more is guilty of a criminal offense. Following an arrest, based solely on the police report and BAC test results, the Secretary of State will immediately suspend the driver’s license. Then, there are lawyer’s fees, insurance increases and a serious blot on your record. Drinking and driving is just not worth it.

Even if you are perfectly sober, make sure you are also wide-awake when you get behind the wheel.  Studies have shown that “drowsy driving” is almost as dangerous as driving after you have been drinking. If you are staying up late and then driving, try to take precautions such as coffee or having someone with you in the car to help you stay alert. And of course, don’t text while you are driving.  It is another serious distraction that causes accidents, and it is against the law.

I hope that you all have the opportunity to spend time with family and friends that you love and cherish over this holiday season. Please remember that this time of year is, most importantly, about peace and goodwill, and giving and sharing and being with those that you care about. May you all have a safe, happy and healthy holiday and a wonderful year in 2012.

And, remember to contact me at my office at the State House at 287-1515 or visit my website, www.mainesenate.org/diamond to send me an e-mail if there is anything I can do for you.

Senator Bill Diamond is a resident of Windham, and serves the District 12 communities of Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, Standish, Windham and Hollis.

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