In events ranging from the formal to the decidedly relaxed, Tulsans will welcome 2020 with streamers, fun food and libations.
Whether you prefer to celebrate in a tuxedo or blue jeans, don’t start out the new year by driving drunk or high.
During 2017, there were 324 alcohol or drug-related fatalities in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, which points out that that is the equivalent of two fully loaded 737-800 jets crashing with no survivors.
Drunken driving is a deadly problem for those with the most to lose: young people. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reports that 16% of the state’s alcohol-related traffic fatalities were people under age 21.
There is some very good news on this front.
The foundation reports that drunken driving fatalities declined more than 31% in Oklahoma from 2008 to 2017. For those under 21, the alcohol-related fatality figures were down nearly 63% in Oklahoma. While that is very encouraging, every drunken driving fatality is an avoidable tragedy. The best number is zero.
There are plenty of affordable alternatives to intoxicated driving: designated drivers, ride-sharing services, taxis, sleeping it off on your host’s couch ... The key to making any of those options work is thinking ahead when you’re sober and then living up to the guidelines you set for yourself.
Oklahoma’s laxer alcohol laws and medical marijuana have made access to intoxicants fairly easy for almost anyone over age 21. New Year’s Eve is a good moment to test whether we’re adult enough to earn the rights we have voted ourselves in recent years.
Getting drunk or high won’t make your life any better. A hangover will make your New Year’s Day decidedly worse. An arrest for intoxicated driving will turn your life upside down and your wallet inside out. A collision can leave you mangled or dead.
Here’s a New Year’s Eve resolution for everyone: If you are using something to make your New Year’s Eve brighter, don’t drive.