The holiday season is a time of joy and family togetherness.  However, one mistake can turn a celebration into a time of tragedy, warns Randy Wright, President of Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a national brand that services virtually any make and model vehicle.   Drinking and driving is one of the major causes of traffic fatalities, and statistics show it spikes during the holiday season.

Seasonal Drinking And Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 10,076 people were killed in crashes involving drunk driving in 2013, the latest year for which statistics are available.  In December alone, 733 people died on our roads and highways – 23 died on Christmas Day.

NHTSA is launching its annual Drive Sober of Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs from Dec. 16 through Jan. 1.  As part of the national enforcement campaign, police will increase the number of patrols, set up roadblocks and checkpoints, and use local media to get the message out to all drivers. Drivers caught drinking and driving could face jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses that total $10,000 on average.

“It’s time for all drivers to get the message,” said Wright. “Drunk driving is a choice you make, and when you make that choice, people get hurt or die.”  He said the safest way to get home and practice holiday driving safety is to drive sober or catch a ride with a sober designated driver.

Avoid Drunk Driving

Here are some other holiday driving safety tips to follow this season:

  • If you plan to drink at a holiday party or at a restaurant, hand the keys over to someone else – a sober friend – or use a taxi or public transportation.
  • NHTSA has a SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available at for Android and for iPhone users.
  • In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, NHTSA asks everyone to be alert. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely.
  • NHTSA reminds drivers that even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash.

“All of us at Cottman, including your local Cottman Man, work hard all year long to be sure your car is operating safely and smoothly,” Wright said.  “We urge our customers, as well as all drivers, to do their part by planning ahead and avoid putting themselves and others in a dangerous or life-threatening position by drinking and driving.  It’s a simple choice, driven by common sense.”