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Take chief's comments to heart

By Staff | Dec 5, 2008

Readers may have noticed Rugby Police Chief Luis Coca’s Community Voice column in the Nov. 29 Tribune issue (Plain and simple: If you drink, don’t drive), Page 5.

Coca pointed out that this time of year there is an increase in alcohol consumption as people attend holiday parties and gatherings.

And with that increase in alcohol consumption comes the likelihood of more people getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and driving.

The chief’s simple response to that is: Don’t.

Even if you assume you haven’t consumed enough alcohol to be impaired, don’t take the chance. Let someone sober do the driving.

There is also an onus on the party hosts to make sure guests who have had too much to drink have a ride home or can stay over. And there should be a choice of non-alcoholic beverages for guests to drink.

Of course, many of these points have been brought to light before, but it’s never a bad idea to stress them again, because it appears the point can’t be hammered home enough.

Recent statistics from M.A.D.D (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) reported that North Dakota has the dubious distinction of having the highest percentage of alcohol-related traffic fatalities among the 50 states.

Indeed, it’s a troubling statistic because it shows that motorists in North Dakota are choosing to drive while alcohol-impaired.


Perhaps part of that thinking is that here in a rural state we don’t encounter the levels of traffic of more populated states, so the odds of accidents are lower. And the time and distance from the bar or a party to home is shorter.

However, that argument doesn’t hold up for a number of reasons. One, it doesn’t take two vehicles to have an accident. In fact, many of the traffic-related deaths involve just one vehicle. Two, other rural states, including neighboring South Dakota, have a lower percentage of alcohol-related fatalities on roadways. So more people there are choosing not to drink and drive, despite less traffic to contend with.

And whether it’s two blocks, two miles or 20 miles, driving under the influence is dangerous.

Coca has made it clear that drunk driving will not be tolerated in this community, and motorists here had better think twice about getting behind the wheel after drinking.

It’s against the law — and more important, it’s dangerous.

Take the chief’s warning to heart.

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