The Sunset of 2011 and the Sunrise of 2012

It’s New Year’s Eve, and that means everyone will be out there partying until the stroke of Midnight when 2011 gives way to 2012. However, New Years Eve can be a memorable experience for you if you celebrate responsibly.

I posted some helpful tips on celebrating New Year’s Eve safely that was inspired by a Bay News 9 article on this subject. I recently expanded this topic and turned these tips into a PDF document which I have made available on Interstate275Florida.com on a permanent basis simply by clicking on this link. It’s easy to celebrate the holidays safely, and it’s not just restricted to New Year’s Eve.

I put these tips here as a reminder of the most common danger of being out and about on New Year’s Eve (as well as any other major holiday), especially out there on Interstate 275 as well as other major highways in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area: Drinking and driving. I post these tips out there as a public service in the hope that needless accidents can be prevented, especially around New Year’s Eve.

After all, the Florida Highway Patrol – along with other law enforcement agencies in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area – will be out in full force looking out for impaired drivers. If you drink and get behind the wheel, and a state trooper sees you driving erraticly or you have the misfortune of going through a DUI checkpoint, expect to spend the beginning of the new year with a pair of steel handcuffs, placed behind your back and double locked, and being taken to either the Pinellas or Hillsborough County Jail depending on where you get arrested and spending time in a holding cell until you sober up.

As a reminder, if your New Year’s Eve celebrations include drinking, please, please do one of three things:

1. Designate a driver.

2. Call a taxi to take you home. You can retrieve your car the next day.

3. Spend the night at a hotel or a friend’s house. Even if rates are high for New Year’s Eve or any other major holiday, it’s much better (and much cheaper) to pay for a room at the Hilton Downtown St. Petersburg Bayfront or any other hotel than face the consequences of DUI if you are caught.

Ask yourself: Would you rather pay $120 for a hotel room for one night or $20,000 for taking a chance by drinking and driving? Let’s see:

$120: Can pay for one night’s hotel room on New Year’s Eve (approximately).

$20,000: Can pay for your first DUI, and we’re talking DUI that does not involve property damage, bodily injury or even death. It includes, among other things:

Court imposed fines
Court imposed costs
Attorney’s fees
Cost for ignition interlock
Cost to retrieve your vehicle from the impound lot
Mandatory DUI school
Increased insurance costs
And the list goes on and on…

It’s your choice.

Again, do yourself a favor and if you had even one drink, don’t get behind the wheel and drive! Let’s start 2012 on the right note!

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